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Dedication iii 

Explanation of the Plates ix 


Introductory to the Course delivered in 1817. 

Reply to the Charges of Mr. Abernethy ; — Modern His- 
tory and Progress of Comparative Anatomy . . 1 


Introductory to the Course of 1818. 
The Cultivation of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy re- 
commended as Branches of general Knowledge, and as 
an interesting Department of Philosophy : their relation 
to various Questions in general Philosophy exemplified 
in the Gradations of Organization, and the Doctrine of 
final Causes. Examples of the Aid they are capable of 
affording to Geology and the Physical History of the 
Globe. Their Importance to Physiology, and consequently 
to the Scientific Study of Medicine. Objects of Inquiry 
in the Animal Kingdom, and Mode of Investigation ; 
Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology . . . .27 


On the Study of Physiology ; — the Aids and Illustrations 
to be derived from other Sciences, as Natural Philosophy, 
Mathematics, Chemistry. Study of the Physical Sciences 
recommended. Peculiar Characters of the vital Phe- 
nomena. Living Properties. Attempted Hypothetical 
Explanation of them. Comparative Anatomy ; its Ob- 
jects ; its Relations to Physiology exempUfied ' . 46 



Nature of Life; Methodical Arrangement of Living Beings; 
Species, Varieties, Genera, Orders, &c. Progressive 
Simi^lification of Organization, and of Functions. Intel- 
lectual Functions of the Brain, in the natural and dis- 
ordered State, explained on the same Principles as the 
offices of other Organs .64 

On the Natural History of Man . . .82 


Nature and Objects of the Inquiry ; and Mode of Investiga- 
tion ; the Subject hitherto neglected, and very erroneous 
notions consequently prevalent. Sources of Information. 
Anatomical Characters of the Monkey Tribe, and more 
particularly of the Orang-outang and Chimpanse. Specific 
Character of Man ib. 


Distinctions between Man and Animals, or 

Specific Characters of Man. 


The erect Attitude of Man, and consequent Peculiarities m 
the Structure of the lower Limbs, Thorax, Spine, and 
Pelvis 92 


On the Upper Extremities ; Advantageous Construction of 
the Human Hand ; Man is two-handed ; the Monkey 
kind four-handed : on the Natural Attitude and Gait of 
Monkeys 106 


Comparison of the Human Head and Teeth to those of 
Animals . ... ... 114 


Differences between Man and Animals in Stature, Propor- 
tions, and some other Points 125 




Differences in the Structure of some internal Organs . .130 
Peculiarities in the animal Economy of the human Species ; 
general Extension over the Globe ; Man naturally omni- 
vorous ; his long Infancy and slow Development: hence 
suited to the social State 139 


Faculties of the Mind ; Speech; Diseases; Recapitulation 156 

On the Varieties of the Human Species. 


Statement of the Subject ; Mode of Investigation ; the 
Question cannot be settled from the Jewish Scriptures ; 
nor from other historical Records. The Meaning of 
Species and Variety in Zoology : Nature and Extent of 
Variation. Breeding as a Criterion of Species. Crite- 
rion of Analogy 165 


On the Colour of the human Species. Structure of the 
Parts in which the Colour resides. Enumeration of the 
various Tints. Colour and Denominations of the mixed 
Breeds. Various Colours of Animals. Production of 
Varieties. Spotted Individuals. Other Properties of 
the Skin . . ...... 184 


On the Hair, Beard, and Colour of the Iris . . . 208 


Differences of Features ; Forms of the Skull ; Teeth ; 
Attempted Explanations 220 




Varieties in Figure, Proportions, aad Strength. The Ears ; 
Effects of Art upon them, and in other Parts of the 
Body. The Mammae. Organs of Generation. Fabulous 
Varieties ......... 267 


Difference of Stature. Origin and Transmission of Varie- 
ties in Form .293 


Differences in the Animal Economy. Diseases. External 

Senses. Language 314 


Differences in Moral and Intellectual Qualities . .324 


On the Causes of the Varieties of the Human Species . 343 


Division of the Human Species into Five Varieties . . 376 
Concluding Address 392 


The five first Figures, representing characteristic Portraits of 
the principal Races or Varieties of the Human Species, are copied 
from Engravings in the first Part of Blumenbach's Delinea- 
tions of Objects in Natural History. 

I. Caucasian Variety. Jusuf Aguiah Efendi, a Turk, for- 

merly Ambassador from the Porte at the Court of London. 

II. Mongolian Variety. Feodor Iwanowitsch, a Calmuck, 

sent when young by the Empress of Russia to the Here- 
ditary Princess of Baden, educated at Carlsruhe, and after- 
wards a celebrated Engraver in Rome. 

III. Ethiopian Variety. J. J. E. Capitein, a Negro, who 

received Holy Orders in Holland. 

IV. American Variety. Thayendaneega, a Chief of the 

Mohawks, or Si.x Nations, whose Statement respecting 
one of the physical Characters of his Countrymen is 
quoted from the Philosophical Transactions. 

V. Malay Variety. Omai, a Native of Ulietea, one of the 

Friendly Islands, brought to England in 1773, and carried 
back by Cook in his last Voyage. 

VI. Skull of a Georgian Woman. 

VII. SkuU of a Calmuck. 

VIII. SkuU of a Negro ; from a Specimen in the Collection of 
Mr. Abernethy. 

IX. Comparative View of the Georgian, Negro, and Tungoose 

Skulls, according to the Norma verticalis of Blu- 

X. SkuU of a Carib, from a Specimen in the Hunterian Collection. 

XI . Skull of a Carib with the Forehead artificiaUy flattened, from 

a Specimen belonging to Mr. Cline. 

XII. Comparative View of the Skull in young Subjects of the 

Caucasian, Mongolian, and Ethiojjian Varieties. 





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Reply to the Charges of Mr. Ahemelhy ; modern History and Progress of 
comparaiioc Anatomy. 

Gentlemen ! — I cannot presume to address you again in 
the character of Professor to this College, without first publicly 
clearing myself from a charge publicly made in this theatre ; — 
the charge of having perverted the honourable office, intrusted 
to me by this Court, to the very unworthy design of propagating 
opinions detrimental to society, and of endeavouring to enforce 
them for the purpose of loosening those restraints, on which 
the welfare of mankind depends.* 

* Physiological Lectures, exhibiting a general rieto of Mr. Hunter's Physiology, 
and of his Researches in comparalire Anatomy ; delirered before the Royal College 
o/5«)-g<?072.«, iy J. Abernethy, F.R.S. Sue particularly Lect. 1, 2, 6, and 7 : the 
passages and pages are too numerous to be particularized. Had the author 
been content with pronouncing his attack from the chair of the College, I 
should have been satisfied with defending mvself in the same place. The pub- 
lication of his charge has made it necessary for me to publish my reply. 

The apparent contradiction between the allotted subject of these Physiolo- 
gical Lectures, — human anatomy ; the professed topic. — Mr. Hunter's know- 
ledge oi comparative anatomy ; and their actual contents, anatomical, physio- 
logical, ethical, controversial, abusive, S:c. &c. ; is only to be reconciled by 
a consideration of the real motives, which may be discovered without a very 
deep research. That the few remarks on life, published in my Introduction 
to comparative Anatomy and Physiology, should have been the sole occasion, 
and have furnished so much of the subject of these Lectures, was an honour 
altogether unexpected and unwished on my part. If it should be thought that 
I do not show a proper sense of so distinguished a compliment, by bestowing 
in return so short a notice on the Physiological Lectures, more particularly 
when nearly all the opinions and facts they contain would atlord ample mat- 
ter for discussion, my apology must be want of room, and not being yet fully 
convinced that the pretended Hunterian theory of life is the most important 
subject that can be entertained by the human rnind. This slowness of belief 
must be pardoned in a modem sceptic. 

Not to fatigue his audience by too much of on* thing, however good, the 
author judiciously interspersed his views of the so called Hunterian doctrine, 
aad his series of anathemas agaipst the designs, principles, and character of 



I feel obliged to call your attention to this subject ; — not by 
the probability of the accusation, and still less by the arguments 
adduced in support of it ; — but, because the character of the 
accuser may with some supply the deficiency of proof ; — because 
the silence of contempt, which the iUiberality and weakness of the 
charge would so well justify, might be construed by others into 
an admission of guilt ; — and, if I could appear before you under 
the possibility of such an admission, you might reasonably sup- 
pose me indifferent to your approbation or blame, and therefore 
imworthy of the office which I now hold. 

I am not going to drag you again over the field of contro- 
versy : — ray opinions are published : — they were not brought 
forward secretly ; they have never shunned the light, and they 
shall never be concealed nor compromised. Without this free- 
dom of inquiry and speech, the duty of your professors would 
be irksome and humihating ; they would be dishonoured in 
their own eyes, and the estimation of the public. These privi- 
leges, Gentlemen ! shall never be surrendered by me: I will 
not be set down nor cried down by any person, in any place, or 
under any pretext. However flattering it may be to my vanity 
to wear this gown, if it involves any sacrifice of independence, 
the smallest dereliction of the right to examine freely the sub- 
jects on which I address you, and to express fearlessly the 
result of my investigations, I would strip it off instantly. 

I \rillingly concede to every man, what I claim for myself; — 
the freest range of thought and expression ; and am perfectly 
indifferent whether the sentiments of others on speculative sub- 
jects coincide with or differ from my own. Instead of -wishing or 
expecting that uniformity of opinion should be established, I 
am convinced that it is neither practicable nor desirable ; that 

the audacious sceptics who refuse to accept the gracious present, with other 
topics ; and did not disdain to intermix the most elementary anatomical 
truths. Thus we learn that tlie head is placed on the top of a column of bones 
called vertebra; (p. 108) ; that the seven upper ribs are connected by gristles 
to the breast-bone (121) ; that there are two bones of the fore-arm ; and that 
the ulna sends backward a projection we name the elbow (126) ; that the wrist 
is composed of eiL'ht little bones (126) ; &c. &c. &c. When we consider that 
the audience, to whom these Lectures were delivered, comprised the venerable 
elders of our profession, appointed to guard tlie portals of the great edifice in 
Lincoln's Inn Fiekls ; the general bodj- of London surgeons, who having been 
admitted within the gates, must be deemed accomplished in all parts of ana- 
tomical and surgical science ; and the students of the several schools of medi- 
cine ; who having devoted one winter at least to anatomical pursuits, must be 
presumed to possess the a b c of the science ; and when we further reiiect 
that the author would undoubtedly be governed in his selection of subjects by 
a deliberate view and sound estimate of the wants of his audience, we are na- 
turally anxious to. know for which of the three classes above mentioned these 
" Early Lessons" in anatomy were designed. Perhaps, however, like the 
water in a medical pre>criptinn, they were only meant as an innocent vehicle 
fur the more active ingredients. 


varieties of thought are as numerous, and as strongly marked, 
and as irreducible to one standard as those of bodily form : and 
that to quarrel with one, who thinks differently from ourselves, 
would be no less unreasonable than to be angry with him for 
having features unlike our own. , 

To fair argument and free discussion I shall never object, 
even if they should completely destroy my own opinions ; for 
my object is truth, not victory. But when argument is aban- 
doned, and its place supplied by an inquiry into motives, de- 
signs, and tendencies, the case is altered. If vanquished in fair 
discussion, I should have yielded quietly ; but it cannot have 
been expected that I would he still, and be trampled on, lecture 
after lecture ; cut and mangled with every weapon fair and foul ; 
assailed with appeals to the passions and prejudices, to the fears 
of the timid, the alarms of the ignorant and the bigoted : and 
this, too, when nothing is easier than to destroy the ill-con- 
structed fabric ; to crumble its very fragments to dust, and 
scatter them before the wind. 

It is alleged that there is a party of modern sceptics, co-ope- 
rating in the diffusion of these noxious opinions with a no less 
ten-ible band of French physiologists, for the purpose of demo- 
ralizing mankind ! Such is the general tenour of the accusation, 
independently of the modifications, by which it is worked up 
into separate counts, and of the rhetorical ornaments, by which 
it was embellished. Had the statement been general, I should 
not have appropriated it by entering on a defence ; — ^but have 
left that service to any volunteer of the sceptical party, which 
I know no more of, than I do of the man in the moon, and in 
whose existence I believe just as much. The quotation of my 
own words, however, rendered it impossible for me to shield 
myself under the pretext of uncertainty ; indeed, it particularized 
and fixed the accusation, for which no other tangible object 
could be discovered. 

The vague and indefinite expressions of sceptical party, modern 
sceptics, and other abusive terms, form too flimsy a veil to con- 
ceal the real object of this fierce attack ; while the pretended 
concern for important truths and principles, and the loud impu- 
tation of bad designs and evil tendencies, instead of decently 
covering, rather expose the nakedness of the feeUngs in which 
it originated. 

Perhaps ail the counts of this alarming indictment are not 
intended to apply to all tlae persons thus unexpectedly dragged 

B 2 


to the bar of public oi)inion ; — 1)ut, as the prosecutor made no 
distinction in the shades of guilt, I must plead to the whole 
accusation ; — of propagating dangerous opinions, — and of doing 
so in concert with the French physiologists : — the French, who 
seem to be considered our natural enemies in science, as well 
as in politics. 

I plead not guilty ; and enter on my defence with a confident 
reliance on the candour and impartiality of the tribunal, before 
whom the cause is brought ; — a tribunal too enlightened to con- 
found the angry feelings and exaggerated expressions of con- 
troversy with the calm deductions of reason ; — and well able to 
appreciate this attempt at enlisting religion and morality on the 
side of self-love ; by which difference of opinion, at all times 
but too irritating to the human mind, receives the double aggra- 
vation, of real inability to persuade, and fancied right to con- 

"Where, Gentlemen! shall we find proofs of this heavy 
charge, — of this design so hostile to the very elements and 
foundation of civil union ? What are the overt acts to prove 
this treason against society ? this compassing and imagining the 
destruction of moral restraint, and the grounds of mutual con- 
fidence ? What support can you discover for such imputations 
in the profession, pursuits, habits and character of those who 
are accused ? How will it promote their interests to endanger 
the very frame of society ? By what latitude and artifice of 
construction, by what ingenuity of explanation, can the mate- 
rials of such a charge be extracted from the discussion of an 
abstract physiological question ? from discourses first delivered 
in this theatre to an assembly of the whole profession, and since 
openly published to the whole world ? I need not remind you 
that such an accusation is repelled by every appearance, every 
proba])ility, and every presumption ; and that in opposition 
to these prima facie sources of distrust, it can only be esta- 
blished by the clearest and most unefjui\ ocal evidence : not by 
bold assertions and strained inferences — not by declamatory 
common-places on morals — nor by all the pangs and complaints 
of mortified self-love. 

A ])arty of modern scejitics ! — A sceptic is one Avho doubts ; 
— and if this party includes those who doubt, — or rather who 
do not doubt at all, — about the electro-chemical doctrine of life, 
I can have no objection to belong to so numerous and respect- 
able a body. The assent of the mind to any proposition cannot 


be forced ; it must depend on the weight of evidence and argu- 
ment. I cannot adopt this hypothesis until some proof or rea- 
soning of a very different nature from any hitherto produced 
shall be brought forwards. I declare most sincerely, that I 
never met with even the shadow of a proof, that the contraction 
of a muscle or the sensation of a nerve depended in any degree 
on electrical principles ; or that reflection, judgment, memory, 
arise out of changes similar in their causes or order to those 
we call chemical. On the other hand, I see the animal func- 
tions inseparable from the animal organs ; — first showing them- 
selves when they are first developed ; — coming to perfection as 
they are perfected ; — modified by their various aflfections : — de- 
caying as they decay ; and finally ceasing when they are 

Examine the mind, the grand prerogative of man. Where 
is the mind of the fetus ? where that of the child just bom ? Do we 
not see it actually built up before our eyes by the actions of the 
five external senses, and of the gradually developed internal facal- 
ties ? Do we not trace it advancing by a slow progress through 
infancy and childhood, to the perfect expansion of its faculties in 
the adult ; — annihilated for a time by a blow on the head, or the 
shedding of a little blood in apoplexy ; — decaying as the body 
declines in old age; and finally reduced to an amount hardly 
perceptible, when the body, worn out by the mere exercise of 
the organs, reaches by the simple operation of natural decay 
that state of decrepitude most aptly termed second childhood ? 

Where then shaU we find proofs of the mind's independence 
on the bodily structure ? — of that mind, which, like the cor- 
poreal frame, is infantile in the child, manly in the adult, sick 
and debilitated in disease, frenzied or melancholy in the mad- 
man, enfeebled in the decline of life, doting in decrepitude^ and 
annihilated by death ? 

Take away from the mind of man, or from that of any other 
animal, the operations of the five external senses, and the func- 
tions of the brain, and what will be left behind ? 

That life then, or the assemblage of all the functions, is imme- 
diately dependent on organization, appears to me, physiologi- 
cally speaking, as clear as that the presence of the sun above 
the horizon causes the light of day ; and to suppose that we 
could have light wthout that luminary, would not be more un- 
reasonable than to conceive that life is independent of the animal 
body, in which the vital phenomena are observed 


I say, physiologically speaking ; and beg you to attend parti- 
cularly to this qualification > because the theological doctrine of 
the soul, and its separate existence, has nothing to do with this 
physiological question, but rests on a species of proof altogether 
different. These sublime dogmas could never have been brought 
to light by the labours of the anatomist and physiologist. An 
immaterial and spiritual being could not have been discovered 
amid the blood and filth of the dissecting-room ; and the very 
idea of resortin»g to this low and dirty source for a proof of so 
exalted and refined a truth, is an illustration of what we daily 
see, the powerful bias that professional habits and the exclusive 
contemplation of a particular subject, give even to the strongest 
minds, — an illustration of that esprit de metier, which led the 
honest currier in the threatened city to recommend a fortifica- 
tion of leather. 

When we reflect that the immortahty of the soul and a future 
state of rewards and punishments were fully recognised in all 
the religions of the ancient world, except the Jewish ; — and that 
they are equally so in all those of more modern time ; — when 
we consider, that this belief prevailed universally in the vast and 
populous regions of the East, for ages and ages before the period 
to which our remotest annals extend, and that it is firmly rooted 
in countries and nations, on which the sun of science has never 
yet shone, the demonstration that the anatomical and physiolo- 
gical researches of the last half century have not the most remote 
connexion with, or imaginable influence on, the proof of these 
great truths will be completed beyond the possibility of doubt 
or denial, in the estimation of every unprejudiced person. I do 
not enlarge on this point, because it is too obvious, and because 
divinity and morals, however excellent in their own time and 
place, do not exactly suit the theatre, audience, or subject of 
these Lectures. 

The greatest of the ancient philosophers said that the surest 
way of gaining admission into the temple of wisdom, was 
through the portal of doubt — and he declared that he knew 
only one thing — his own ignorance. Were Socrates to show 
his head above ground just now, he must conclude, either that 
he himself had completely mistaken the road to knowledge, or 
that his successors had accomplished the journey, and had 
penetrated into the sanctuary of the temple. For, in the modern 
philosophy, doubting is proscribed as the source of all mischief; 
and an overbearing dogmatism, even on the most abstruse and 


difficult questions, is held forth as a wser course than the 
modest confession of ignorance. 

When favourite speculations have been long indulged, and 
much pains have been bestowed on them, they are ^^e\ved with 
that parental partiahty, which cannot bear to hear of faults in 
the object of its attachment. Tlie mere doubt of an impartial 
obser\-er is offensive ; and the discovery of anything like a ble- 
mish in the darhng is not only ascribjed to an entire want of 
discrimination and judgment, but resented as an injury. The 
irritation rises higher, in proportion to the coolness of the 
object which excites it ; as Sir Anthony Absolute in the play, 
while swelling with rage, and boiling over with abuse on the 
persons around him, begins to damn them again with tenfold 
energy because they cannot keep their tempers, because they 
cannot be as cool as he is. 

By a curious inconsistency in the human mind, difference of 
opinion is more offensive and intolerable in proportion as the 
subject is of a more refined nature, and less susceptible of direct 
proof. Hence the rancorous mtolerance excited by the minute 
and almost evanescent shades of opinion that distinguish many 
religious sects. The quarrels of the Homoousians and the Ho- 
moiousians flUed the Roman empire for a long series of years 
with discord, faction, persecution, and civil war. Yet the point 
at issue, actually comprised in the -variation of a single diph- 
thong, is so minute as to be " scarcely visible to the nicest 
theological eye,"* and certainly, in reference to either faith or 
practice, is not a jot more imjwrtant than the controversy which 
divided the mighty empire of Lilliput, respecting the right end 
to break in eating an egg. Tis a pity we cannot find some 
convenient way of setthng these important controversies ; such 
as occurred to the traveller, who met with a people divided into 
two parties on the question whether they should walk into the 
temple of their deity with the right or the left leg foremost. Each 
side conceived the practice of the other to be impious ; the tra- 
veller recommended the obvious expedient, which in the heat 
of their quarrel they had overlooked, of jumping in wdth both 
legs together. 

The peculiar virulence of controversy, in all cases in which 
religion is supposed to be concerned, is so remarkable, as to have 
become proverbial : — the odium theologicum is the most con- 
centrated essence of animosity and rancour. Let us not then 

• Gibbon. 


open the fair garden of science to this ugly fiend ; let not her 
sweet cup be tainted by the most distant approach of his 
venomous breath. 

Is the cause of truth to be promoted by affixing injurious and 
party names to those who differ from us in these points of nice 
and curious speculation ? wlio cannot pursue the same track 
with ourselves through the airy regions of immaterial being, of 
which the only utility seems to consist in affording occupation 
to the organs of ideality and mysticism ? Is not this kind of 
abuse more likely, by moving the passions, to disturb the opera- 
tion of the judgment. 

The practice of calling names in argument has been chiefly 
resorted to by the fair sex, and in religious discussions ; in both 
cases, apparently, from a common cause — the weakness of the 
other means of attack and defence. The priests of former times 
used to rain a torrent of abusive epithets, as heretic, infrdel, 
atheist, and the Lord knows what, on all who had the audacity 
to differ from them in opinion. This ecclesiastical artillery has 
been so much used, as to have become in great measure unser- 
viceable : it is now found more noisy than destructive ; and the 
general discovery of its harmlessness has assisted, with the pro- 
gress of liberal ideas, to discountenance its employment in con- 
troversy, as poisoned weapons and other unfair advantages have 
been banished from honourable warfare. Sometimes however 
it frightens and stuns, if it does not dangerously wound ; and 
thus it silences antagonists, who could not easily have been over- 
come by weight of argument. 

It would have been praise enough to any doctrine, that it should 
explain the great mystery of life ; that it should solve the enigma, 
which has puzzled the ablest heads of all ages j — but this subtile 
and mobile vital fluid is brought forward with more ambitious 
pretensions, and it is not only designed to show the nature and 
operation of the cause, by which the vital phenomena are pro- 
duced, but to add a new sanction to the great principles of mo- 
rals and religion, and to eradicate all the selfish and bad pas- 
sions of our nature. An obscure hypothesis, which few have 
ever heard of, and fewer can comprehend, is to make us all good 
and virtuous, to impose a restraint upon vice stronger than Bow- 
street or the Old Bailey can apply ; and in all probability to con- 
vert the offices of Mr. Recorder and his assistant Mr. Ketch into 

• Let us siipiiose for a moment that the adoption of this hypothesis would 
really have all the efficacy that is pretended, it would then be desirable that 


What has been the effect of this great discovery on its author ? 
What are the first fruits of this new ethical power ? A series of 
Quixotic attacks on conspirators and parties as purely imaginary 
as the giants and castles encountered by the knight of La Mancha; 
of unfounded charges and angry invective, undisguised and 
glaring national partiality, unreasonable national antipathy, un- 
merited and unprovoked abuse of the writers of a whole nation, 
afford an overwhelming proof of its complete moral inefficacy. 

These magnificent designs are interrupted by a conspiring 
band of sceptics and French physiologists ; — by a nest of plotters 
brought forth aU at once on this green table, and threatening, in 
the noise and alarm which preceded their discovery, as well as 
in their utter insignificancy and harmlessness when discovered, 
to eclipse even the green bag conspiracy of another place. The 
foundations of morality undermined, and religion endangered 
Ijy a little discussion, and a little ridicule of the electro-chemical 
hypothesis of hfe ! Thus the possessor of a specific endeavours 
to frighten people by the most lively pictures of their danger ; 
that they may receive, with a higher opinion of its virtues and 
importance, his pretended infallible remedy. 

I shall not insult your understandings by formally proving 
that this physiological doctrine never has afforded, and never 
can afford, any support to religion or morals ; and that the great 
truths, so important to mankind, rest on a perfectly different, 
and far more solid foundation. If tliey could be endangered at 
aU by the discussions, with which we amuse ourselves, it would 
be by unsettling them from their natural and firm establishment 
in the natural feelings and propensities, in the common sense, 
in the mutual wants and relations of mankind, and erecting 
them anew on the artificial and rotten foundation of these 
unsubstantial speculations, or on the equally unsafe ground 
of abstruse metaphysical researches.* 

it should turn out to be true: but -would tliat afford any proof of the hypo- 
thesis ? If, in a disputed question, you tell me that I shall have a large estate, 
if I am convinced that you are in the right: undoubtedly I shall desire with 
all my heart to find that you are right : but I cannot be convinced of it, unless 
your arguments should be found satisfactory. In the same way, in tossing up 
for heads and tails, if I am to receive a guinea provided tails turn up, and a 
hundred if it should be heads, this difference does not at all increase the 
chances of the latter event, however it may operate on my wishes. 

• The profound, the virtuous, and fervently pious Pascal acknowledged, 
what all sound theologians maintain, that the immortality of the soul, the 
great truths of religion, and the fundamental principles of morals, cannot be 
flemonstrablv proved by mere reason ; and that revelation alone is capable of 
dissipating the uncertainties, which perplex those who inquire too curiously 
into the sources of these important principles. All will acknowledge that, 
as no other remedy can be so perfect and satisfactory as this, no other can be 
necessary, if we resort to this with tirm faith. How many persons could be 
found, whose belief in a Deity rests on the chain of reasoning in Clark's 
B 3 


As to the charge itself, of bringing forward doctrines with any 
design hostile to the principles or opinions, on which the welfare 
of society depends ; or with any other intention, except that of 
displaying to you the impartial result of my own reflections and 
researches ; — I reply in one word ; — that it is false. I beg you, 
indeed, to observe, that I have only remarked on the opinions of 
others ; I have adduced none of my own. I profess an entire 
ignorance of the nature of the vital properties, except in so far 
as they are disclosed by experience ; and find my knowledge 
on this subject reduced to the simple result of observation, that 
certain phenomena occur in certain organic textures.* To the 
qiiestion, what opinions I would substitute in place of those to 
which I object, I answer, none. Ignorance is preferable to 
error : he is nearer to truth, who believes nothing, than he who 
believes what is wrong. 

And here I take the opportunity of protesting, in the strongest 
terms, — in behalf of the interests of science and of that free 
discussion, which is essential to its successful cultivation, — 
against the attempt to stifle impartial inquiry by an outcry of 
pernicious tendency ; and against perverting science and litera- 
ture, which naturally tend to bring mankind acquainted with 
each other, to the anti-social purposes of inflaming and pro- 
longing national prejudice and animosity. Letters have been 
called the tongue of the world ; and science may be regarded in 
the same light. They supply common objects of interest, in 
which the selfish and unsocial feelings are not called into action, 
and thus they promote new friendships among nations. Through 

Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God; or in Kant's Einzig 
mogliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseyn Gottesf How many 
are there who have had perseverance enough to go through the chain of ar- 
gument in these works 1 If the close and profound reasoning and the meta- 
physical acuteness of Clark and Kant have been employed to little purpose 
on such a subject, what are we to expect from this pretended Hunterian 
theory of life? 

* The author of the Physiological Lectures entertains some peculiar vievre 
concerning the evidence, on which we are to rely in our physical researches, 
which probably furnish a clue to the peculiar results at which he has arrived. 
He " confides more in the eye of reason than in that of sense; and would 
rather form opinions from analogy, than from the imperfect evidence of sight." 
P. 203, where the expression is employed in discussing a question of fact. 
The same statement, in nearly the same words, occurs in several other places. 
From a comparison of these passages with each other, and with the leading 
doctrines of these lectures, I consider their meaning to be, that when the 
evidence of the senses is at variance with preconceived notions, or the con- 
structions, combinations, or other operations of the mental faculties, the 
author rejects the former and adheres to the latter. As the author must be 
the best judge of the relative value belonging to the evidence of his own 
senses and that of his fancy, imagination, and other internal powers, it is 
fair to presume that he has exercised a sound discretion in this very impor- 
tant determination. It is however rather unreasonable for him to expect that 
others should rely on the workings of his fancy in preference to the evidence 
of their own senses. 


them distant people become capable of conversing ; and losing 
by degrees tbe awkwardness of strangers, and the moroseness 
of suspicion, they learn to know and understand each other. 
Science, the partisan of no country, but the beneficent patroness 
of all, has liberally opened a temple where all may meet. She 
never inquires about the country or sect of those who seek 
admission : she never allots a higher or a lower place from exag- 
gerated national claims, or unfounded national antipathies. Her 
influence on the mind, like that of the sun on the chilled earth, 
has long been preparing it for higher cultivation, and further 
improvement. The philosopher of one country should not see 
an enemy in the philosopher of another : he should take his seat 
in the temple of science, and ask not who sits beside him. The 
savage notion of a natural enemy should be banished from this 
sanctuary, where all, from whatever qviarter, should be regarded 
as of one great family ; and being engaged in pursuits calculated 
to increase the general sum of hajjpiness, should never exercise 
intolerance towards each other, nor assume that right of arraign- 
ing the motives and designs of others, which belongs only to the 
Being who can penetrate the recesses of the human heart ; an 
assumption which is so well reprobated by our great poet : 

Let not this weak unkno'.ving hand 

Presume thy bults to throw ; 
And deal damnation round the land 
On each I judge chy fuc. 

In the introductory lecture* of last year, I attempted to sketch 
out to you the history of Comparative Anatomy ; to select the 
names of those who had been principally concerned in estabhsh- 
ing and advancing the science ; and to assign to each his pro- 
per Ghare of praise. At the same time that I found it a pleasing 
task to review the successive steps in the progress of so interest- 
ing a science, and to award the just tribute of our gratitude to 
so many useful labours, I thought it would be interesting and 
profitable to you to know to whose talents and to whose exer- 
tions zoology had been indebted. 

The space allotted to this historical review having been ne- 
cessarily short, the names of many were omitted ; and others 
were noticed more briefly than the number, extent, and impor- 
tance of their contributions to science would have deserved. 
This was particularly the case with many illustrious foreigners, 
towards some of whom I shall now make up for that neglect. 

The temple of science has not been raised to its present com- 

• See Introduction to ccmr arative Anatnmy and Phyiiology. 


manding height, or decorated with its beautiful proiwrtions and 
embellishments, by the exertions of any one country. If we 
obstinately shut our eyes to all that other nations have con- 
tributed, we shall survey only a few columns of the majestic 
fabric, and never rise to an adequate conception of the grandeur 
and beauty of the whole. Our insular situation, by restricting 
intercourse, has contributed to generate a contempt for foreigners, 
and an unreasonable notion of our own importance, which is 
often ludicrous ; always to be regretted ; and in many cases 
strong enough to resist all the weapons of ridicule. We should 
consider what we think of these national prejudices, when we 
observe them in others ; when we see the Turks summing up 
aU their contempt for their more polished neighbours, in the 
short but expressive phrase of Christian dogs ; and the Emperor 
of China accepting presents from the King of England, because 
it is a principle of the celestial empire to show indulgence and 
condescension towards petty states. 

Science requires an expanded mind, a view that embraces the 
universe. Instead of shutting himself up in an island, and 
abusing all the rest of mankind, the philosopher should make 
the world his country ; and should trample beneath his feet those 
prejudices, which the vulgar so fondly hug to their bosoms. 
He should sweep away from his mind the dust and cobwebs of 
all national partiality and enmity, which darken and distort the 
perceptions, and fetter the operations of intellect. If the love 
of science and liberal views are not sufficient to repress the 
noisy obtrusion of national claims, considerations of policy may 
furnish the motive. The country, which has really done the 
most for science, will certainly be the last to assert its preten- 
sions, and a readiness to allow the merits of others will be the 
most powerful means, next to modesty and diffidence, of recom- 
mending our own to attention. If we could come to the strange 
resolution of attending only to what has been done by Enghsh- 
men in comparative anatomy and zoology, we should have to 
go back in the science fifty years or more ; in short, to a state 
of comparative darkness. For such it must be deemed, if we 
excluded the strong light which has been thrown on these sub- 
jects from Italy, Germany, and France. 

The only parallel to such a proceeding is that affiarded by the 
Caliph Omar, in his sentence on the Alexandrian library. This 
ignorant fanatic devoted to the flames the intellectual treasure, 
accumulated by the taste, the learning, and the munificence of 
many kings, observing, that the books, if they agreed with the 


Koran, were superfluous, and need not be preserved ; if they 
differed from it, impious, and ought to be destroyed. 

If this extraordinary kind of exclusion were realized, what 
would be the result ? A great national idol must be set up, and 
we should be compelled to bow down and worship it under 
the penalty of being thrown into the burning fiery furnace of 
offended national pride. 

At the first institution of the French Royal Academy of 
Sciences, towards the middle of the century before the last, 
some of its members occupied themselves with the very useful 
undertaking of observing and dissecting several animals, of de- 
scribing and illustrating them by figures. The value of their 
labours is sufficiently attested by their having been several times 
republished in various forms, and translated into Latin, English, 
and other languages. Being drawn entirely from observation, 
their histories will ever possess the value inseparable from 
faithful delineations of nature. They have described forty-seven 
animals, and represented their external figure and internal struc- 
ture, in ninety folio plates. As examples of their knowledge, 
it will be sufficient to mention, that you will find in their work 
an account of the cells in the camel's stomach, which hold the 
water, a point of structure and economy so strikingly suited to 
the parched and sandy regions of Asia and Africa, which these 
animals inhabit. All communication and comiuerce across these 
extensive wastes would be impossible, mthout a race of animals 
possessing that power of bearing the privation of water, which 
this structure confers. They describe the air-cells and the 
gastric glands of birds ; and the curious mechanism of the mem- 
brana nictitans or third eyelid. Of many animals we know little 
more, to the present day, than what they have told us. 

When we consider that the Royal Academy of Sciences, to 
whose members we owe these splendid and useful laljours, was 
founded by Louis XIV. and his minister Colbert ; when we 
review the long list of illustrious names which adorn the annals 
of that body, and bring together the almost numberless acces- 
sions to every branch of science, which have been the fruit of 
their exertions through the reign of their despotic founder, and 
his no less despotic successors down to the present time ; we are 
reluctantly compelled to acknowledge that the encouragement 
of this branch of human knowledge (the sciences) is not confined 
to free forms of government, and that there is nothing pecuUarly 
hostile to their progress, even in the most despotic. Absolute 


rulers indeed, so far from having any interest in shackling or 
impeding scientific or literary inquiries, have an obvious and 
strong motive for aiding and promoting them. . They aflford a 
safe and harmless employment to many active spirits, who 
might otherwise take a fancy to look into politics and laws ; to 
investigate the source, form, duties, and proceedings of govern- 
ments, and the rights of the governed. A wise despot wiH be 
glad to see such dangerous topics exchanged for inquiries into 
the history of a plant or animal, into the properties of a mineral 
or the form of a fossil ; into the uses of a piece of old Roman 
or Grecian crockery, or the appropriation of a mutilated statue 
to its rightful owner in some heathen goddery. Shutting out 
the human mind from some of its most interesting and impor- 
tant excursions, he will open every other path as widely as possible. 
"WTien the French Academicians discontinued their researches 
and pubhcations, the opportunities of zoological inquiry, which 
the royal menageries had afforded them, passed into the hands 
of BuFFON and Daubenton, who employed them with equal 
industry, and equal advantage to science. When the direction 
of the Jardin des Plantes was confided to Buffon, he formed 
the two-fold project, commensurate in boldness and magnificence 
with his own genius ; — that of assembhng select and well-ar- 
ranged specimens of all natural productions, to exhibit to man- 
kind the fertility and variety of nature ; — and the formation of a 
more durable monument, on which he proposed to engrave the 
history or annals of this admirable nature. The immensity of 
the design, which he was well aware of, did not discourage him 
from the attempt : it only excited him to extend his resources by 
calling in other aid. His discernment discovered the very qua- 
lities he wanted in the modest, patient, persevering, yet zealous 
Daubenton, who was born at the same place with himself, 
Montbar, in Burgundy, and with whom he had been acquainted 
from infancy. Destined by his father for the church, D.\ubkn- 
TON went to Paris to study theology, but he applied in secret to 
medicine, and particularly anatomy; and when his father's death 
allowed him to pm-sue the bent of his own inchnation, he adopted 
the medical profession, and began to practise it in his native 
place, when Biiffon invited him to Paris, and procured for him 
the situations of keeper and demonstrator of the cabinet of na- 
tural history. Their association presented the singular spectacle 
of two men with high yet different qualifications, uniting their 
efforts without impairing their energy, and combining the lights 


they derived from various sources only to increase their inten- 
sify, and to throw them with greater effect on the objects they 
lx)th wished to illuminate. In the great work, so honourable to 
the country which gave it birth, containing the result of their 
associated labours, the share contributed by Daubexton is the 
internal and external description of one hundred and eighty-two 
animals, several of which had neither been observed nor described 
before by naturalists. The useful facts accumulated by him in 
the course of many years devoted to this undertaking, are pre- 
sented in a form so unpretending, that they are overpowered 
and thro^vn into the back-ground by the grand and imposing 
general ^aews, the beautiful particular descriptions, and the elo- 
quence at once majestic and captivating, of the French Pliny. 

So great were the care and accuracy of Daubenton, in re- 
gistering the facts which he observed, that, in spite of their num- 
ber, we can hardly detect an error. He admitted nothing, but 
what he saw himself, without indulging in those bold hypothesis, 
for which Buffon had so marked a predilection ; without even 
drawing those general conclusions, which might have 1)een most 
naturally deduced from his observations. Here perhaps his re- 
ser\'e was excessive; and it is in this respect Camper observed 
of him, that he did not know himself how many things he had 

The anatomical plates and descriptions of Daubenton are, 
in many instances, the most valuable part of the work which 
passes under the name of Buffon : and they will retain this 
value, as the sterling coin bearing the stamp of nature ever 
does; while the base metal of hypothesis and speculation, de- 
tected by a little wearing, is soon consigned to contempt and 
oblivion. Daubenton therefore, although the author of no 
work published in his own name (except some papers in the Me- 
moirs of the French Academy of Sciences), will ever be regarded 
as one of the first in that list of illustrious moderns, who have 
prosecuted the study of zoology with enlarged views and on 
proper principles. 

Camper and Pallas were cotemporary \vith Daubenton. 
Animated with the true feeling for nature, they devoted them- 
selves to her study with that enthusiasm which characterizes 
genius. The zoologists of Europe have assigned to them, with 
one accord, the highest rank in the temple of science ; and point 
them out with one consent as belonging to that small class, who 
have contributed signally to extend the boundaries of natural 


knowledge. Where will any sceptical opponent of their claims 
find justification of his dissent from the pubUc voice so strongly 
expressed in their favour ? Let him seek it in their works, and 
his doubts will soon be at an end. 

Although Camper occupied at different times the chairs of 
philosophy, anatomy, surgery, and medicine at Franeker, Am- 
sterdam, and Groningen ; — although he filled various civil 
situations, and wrote on many subjects in anatomy, midwifery, 
surgery, medicine, and the fine arts, he found leisure for his 
favourite pursuits. He collected a very valuable museum in 
comparative anatomy, made numerous dissections of rare and 
interesting animals, and delineated their structure in that simple 
but expressive style, in which he has given us the admirable 
engravings of the arm and pelvis. The air-ceUs in the bones of 
birds, their communications and uses, the organ of hearing in 
fishes and whales, the anatomy of the orang-outang, the ele- 
phant, the rein-deer, and the Surinam toad, the organs of the 
voice in monkeys, the head of the two-horned rhinoceros, and 
fossil osteology, are some of the subjects which he has success- 
fully illustrated.* 

No man entered the path of zoology with greater ardour, or 
pursued it with more perseverance anfl success, than Peter 
Simon Pallas, the son of a surgeon of Berlin. His whole 
life indeed was only a succession of labours devoted to the ex- 
tension of natural knowledge. In passing over the wide field 
of zoology, the student will see his name in all quarters ; and 
every whei'e as the index of some important discovery. Should 
he wish to survey any part of the territory more minutely, 
Pallas will be his safest guide. He published eighteen sepa- 
rate works, several of them bulky, and in many volumes ; and 
he contributed fifty-five papers to various learned societies-l" 
When the value of writings is so universally recognised, as in 
the case of a Haller and a Pallas, their numerical amount 
is a measure of the obligations under which science lies to their 
authors. He acquired very rapidly the learned, and the modem 
languages, and studied natural history, anatomy, physiology, 
and the other branches of the medical profession, under the 
best teachers that Germany and Holland afforded. His taste 
for zoology was strongly marked at the age of fifteen, when he 

• His various works are enumerated in the Notice de la Vie et des Ecrits de 
P. CamiieT, prefixed to the CEuvrcs, torn. i. 

+ A short account of the life of Pallas has been published by his friend 
Rudolphi, in hia Beylrage zur Ant.n uj uiu^ie U7id allgemeitien JVaturgeschichte, 
8vo. Berlin, 1812. It contains a complete catalogue of his numerous writings. 


sketched out an arrangement of birds on his own notions, and 
made observations on the larvae of the lepidoptera, particularly 
■ •with the view of determining whether they possess the sense of 
hearing, which he settled in the affirmative. His Inaugural 
Thesis, de Infestis viventibus intra viventia (that is, on animals 
which hve in the bodies of others), published in 1761, when he 
was nineteen years of age, is still read with information and 
pleasiu-e ; jJthough the important subject, on which it treats, 
has received so much additional light from the researches of 
subsequent naturalists. At the time of its appearance, this 
production of the young Pallas was much the best book for 
the information it contained, and the views it disclosed He 
proves in it from his own investigations, the \'itality of the 
hydatid ; and demonstrates the structure of the head of the 
tapeworm : he also shows the general objections to the Linnsean 
class vermes. For the piu-pose of prosecuting his favourite 
pursuits of zoology and comparative anatomy, he visited various 
parts of the continent, and England ; employing himself par- 
ticularly on the coasts in investigating the structure and habits 
of marine animals, many of which he has described. His Elen- 
chus Zoophytorum, a work both copious and profound, his Mis- 
cellanea Zoologica and Spicilegia Zoologiee, most rich repositories 
of information on various departments of our science, were pub- 
lished within a few years after his Inaugural Thesis. These 
valuable works fully justify the eulogium of the judicious and 
impartial Haller, who pronounces their author "one of the 
chief founders of comparative anatomy." 

Zoology had hitherto been to Pallas a kind of passion 
rather than an ordinary pursuit ; — he followed the impulse of 
his ardent feeling for nature, Avithout looking to ulterior objects. 
His zeal, talents, and information could not fail to attract atten- 
tion; and they pointed him out to the great Catharine, who 
seemed to feel for science a kind of manly love, and who pro- 
moted it like an empress, as a proper person for her truly grand 
design of exploring the vast regions that owned her sway, of 
describing the countries, their productions and inhabitants. 
His histories of these travels abound with information on all 
points ; I may particularly mention, in reference to our present 
suljject, his very interesting descriptions of the various native 
tribes, scattered over the immense regions of Asiatic Russia, 
and previously very imperfectly known, and his copious details 
in zoology. 


The fatigues of these travels impaired a constitution never 
very rohust, and a subsequent less extensive excursion in the 
southern regions of the Russian empire weakened it still further. 
Yet he afterwards published his Novce Species Quadrupedum e 
Glirium Ordine, the best monography we possess in the class 
mammalia, and distinguished by characters, which few natu- . 
rahsts have been able to impress on their writings. He not 
only accurately describes the animals, and their anatomy, but 
details their habits, and in many cases adds valuable physiolo- 
gical information on their temperature. 

After living some years in the Crimea, on estates given him 
by the Empress, he returned towards the close of his Hfe to 
Berlin ; where, for some months before the event, he was admo- 
nished by pain and increasing weakness of his approaching end. 
Like many professors of our art, he obstinately refused to take 
physic ; exhibiting that want of faith, which, whether or not it 
diminishes the chance of salvation, certainly amuses the pro- 
fane. He died as he Uved, engaged in zoological pursuits ; for 
his last occupation was that of arranging papers, and giving 
directions for a grand work he had been long preparing on the 
animals of the Russian empire ; destined to illustrate their 
structure and functions, as well as natural history. This,* or at 
least some portion of it, is printed, but I believe not yet published. 

Perhaps it is not necessary to insist on the merits of Haller 
in comparative anatomy, before an audience undoubtedly fami- 
liar with the works, and therefore fully able to appreciate the 
greatest ornament of our profession. I must however observe, 
that he saw the subject in its just light : he perceived clearly 
that the physiology of an organ could not be complete until its 
structure had been examined in every class of animals, until all 
its modifications and their effects had been noted. Hence each 
section of his immortal work contains a collection of all the 
facts then known respecting the structure of animals, as well 
as of man. 

At this favourable era, when the spirit of inquiry was 
awakened, and active minds in all parts of Europe were engaged 
in zoological and physiological investigations, Mr. Hunter com- 
menced his career. He enjoyed the great advantage of singu- 
lar importance to an uneducated and unlearned man, of being 
initiated in these pursuits by his brother, the most accomplished 

* jlnimalia Imperii Russici. Ruclolphi informs us, in his Life of Pallas, 
that he had seen the text of the lirst volume, and part of the second ; and gives 
some account of the object and contents of the woik. Beytrage, s. 55, u, folg. 


and learned anatomist, and then the most acute physiologist of 
this or. any other country. From Dr. Wm. Hunter, who first 
taught him, and from the numerous able men brought up in the 
same school, Mr. Hunter learned in the shortest way whatever 
could be derived from books, and became acquainted with the 
labours and discoveries of all other countries.* Thus his genius 
was excited and in'vngorated, without being deadened by the toil 
of study ; refreshed by these supplies, it became capable of 
higher and stronger flights, and soared to an elevation, which we 
cannot estimate justly without taking into consideration the 
point of departure. Yet he never forgot that the physiologist 
is the minister and interpreter of nature : and however little con- 
versant he may have been with human works, no man ever 
consulted wth a more attentive and scrutinizing eye the book 
of nature, which always instructs, and never deceives us. His 
museum will teach us how he endeavoured to learn the struc- 
tiue, and the records of his observations and experiments will 
show how he ir quired into the actions of living beings. Such 
were the means in his opinion best calculated to unfold the 
nature of life ; the characters of which he has drawn, not with 
the wavering outline, and undefined forms of speculation, nor 
in the gaudy and delusive tints of hypothesis ; but with the firm 
touch, that real observation alone could give, and in the sober 
colouring of that nature, with which he was so well acquainted. 
He seldom ventured into the regions of speculation ; and the 
fruits of his excursions, when he did thus indulge himself, are 
not calculated to make us regret they were so few. They bear 

• The unrivalled opportunities of education and information enjoyed by 
Mr. Hunter are very properly stated by the autliur of the Phyiiologicul Lec- 
tures, p. 8. He surprises us afterwards by comparing him to Ferguson the 
astronomer, who became acquainted with the phenomena of the heavenly 
bodies, and constructed charts and instruments, while a shepherd's boy. In 
original instruction, in acquaintance with the most improved state of science, 
and with the labours of those by whom it had been thus advanced, the two 
individuals exhibited a complete contrast Instead of resemblance. The repre- 
sentation that Mr. Hunter was the first in this, or in any other country, who 
studied comparative anatomy and physiology extensively, in order to perfect 
the knowledge of our own animal economy [Physiol. Led. p. 5 and 201), 
seems to me as unfortunate, as the comparison of Hunter to Ferguson, 
Without mentioning Galen, whose labours, although he lived so many cen- 
turies ago, ought not to be forgotten ; without enumerating the long list of 
illustrious men, who devoted themselves with so much zeal and success to 
comparative anatomy and physiology in the 17th centurj-, whose names are 
connected with all the leading discoveries in those sciences, and whose 
works, occupying the sixth book of Haller's Bibliotheca Anal07nica, under 
the title of " Animalium Incisiones," contain many of the facts pul)lished as 
new by the moderns, the name of Harvey immediately suggests itself, as 
sufficient to refute this assertion. The researches of this great man on the 
circulation and generation., show that he was fully aware what assistance 
might be derived from the dissection and observation of animals in illustrating 
the structure and functions of man, and that he knew well how to avail 
himself of it. See Introduction to coinparative Anatomy atid Physiology, 
p. 41, et seq. 


indeed the marks of the common weakness of our nature, and 
remind us of the observation apphed to the theological writings 
of Sir Isaac Newton, that they afford to the rest of mankind 
a consolation and recompense for the superiority he displayed 
over them in other respects. I forbear any further disquisition 
of his merits, because they have already been sufficiently 
explained to you this year ; and particularly in reference to our 
present subject of comparative anatomy ; because too, the fre- 
quent repetition of the theme might lead you to entertain those 
doubts and suspicions, which uncommon earnestness and rei- 
terated recurrence often suggest, when they do not arise 
naturally out of the subject. 

Comparative anatomy is still pursued with great zeal in Ger- 
many, where literature and science are resuming that activity, 
which had experienced a short interruption from war; the 
favourite, but costly and destructive game of princes, and 
indeed of peojjle 

The structure, economy, and scientific classification of intes- 
tinal worms have been illustrated by several German naturalists, 
as Pallas, Block, Goeza, and Werner, whom I have 
already mentioned to you. The same subject has been again 
surveyed in aU its parts, and has received many new illustra- 
tions from Professor Rudolphi of BerUn; whose Entozoorum 
Historia, or History of internal Worms, besides much original 
matter, contains a complete collection of all that has been done 
on the' subject, and an arrangement of the genera and species, 
which is now universally followed ; it is indeed deservedly con- 
sidered the first authority on this subject. 

TiLESius, a German naturalist, who accompanied a late 
Russian voyager round the world, has delineated numerous 
animals, particularly of the marine kinds, in the atlas of Krus- 
enstern's Voyage.* 

Dr. Spix, a Bavarian, has published a foUo workf on the 
comparative osteology of the head, containing numerous plates, 
which are a good specimen of the new art of lithography or 
stone engraving. 

Professor Tiedemann of Landshut gained a prize oflfered by 
the French Institute for the best account of the organs of circu- 
lation in the echinodermata, and has just published his essay | 

• Reiseumdie Welt; Petersbur.L,'h. 

t Ceiihalogenesis, swe Cajiilis ossei Slnictura ; Munich. 

t Jlnatomie der Rohren-Hololliurie, des Foincranz-farhenen See-sterns, und 
des stei7i€rnen See-igeU ; folio, Landshut, 1816; with ten beautiful and ex- 
pressive engravings. 


in folio, with several fine engravings, representing the whole 
anatomy of the holothuria, asterias, and echinus. This book, 
probably the only copy in the country; — and the work of Spix, 
are in the library of the Medical and Chirurgical Society. Many 
other publications in the various departments of zoology have 
appeared in Germany in the course of the past year. 

We may form some judgment of the taste for these pursuits, 
which exists in other countries, from the fact that Blumen- 
bach's Manual of Natural History has gone through nine edi- 
tions. It is indeed remarkable for it.s clear arrangement, and 
for the immense quantity of interesting and valuable informa- 
tion it contains condensed into a small compass. It is altoge- 
ther the best short elementary book on natural history in any 

This great zoologist has not only contributed many new ob- 
servations to the science, and enriched it with excellent ele- 
mentary works, but he has collected a very extensive and 
valuable museum for the illustration of comparative anatomy 
and zoology. A similar collection has been made by Soemm er- 
ring at Munich. 

Of the magnificent cabinet of natural history, belonging to 
the Jardin des Plantes at Paris, report speaks very highly : it 
seems to be unrivalled in the number, beauty, and arrangement 
of the specimens of the animal kingdom. Of the part which 
relates to comparative anatomy I have not met with any detailed 
account, except that the osteological department is peculiarly 

I have great pleasure in hearing that a zoological collection 
has been begun at the British Museum, because without such 
aid, the study of the science must be prosecuted under great dif- 
ficulties, and must necessarily languish. This department is 
under the direction of Dr. Leach, whose zeal, abilities, and 
scientific knowledge are a suflicient assurance to us that nothing 
will be omitted, which the zealous devotion of an individual 
can accomplish. 

In the unrivalled library of Sir Joseph Banks, and in the 
more imcommon liberality with which it is opened to all who 
are engaged in scientific pursuits, the naturalists of this country 
enjoy an eminent advantage. The powerful and munificent 
patronage of this public-spirited individual is freely bestowed 
on all branches of science : it is not confined to the cold sanction 
of a bare assent, but takes the form of active and warm assist- 


ance. in all scientific undertakings that promise to promote 
public utility. Zoology has been a favourite pursuit with him- 
self : the tie of a common ol)ject xmited him closely to Mr 
Hunter ; and he has ever shown a disposition to promote the 
views of this College respecting the museum, which entitles him 
to the particular gratitude of its members ; as his general cha- 
racter and conduct do to the warmest esteem and respect of all 
friends to science. 

The zoologists of France still exhibit that activity and acuie- 
ness, by which the science has been so much benefited, and by 
which it receives, every year, important acquisitions. Cuvibe 
has terminated his labours on the moUusca by the anatomy of 
the cuttle-fish tribe, and has pul)lished together, in one volume, 
with thirty-two beautifully engraved plates, containing a very 
large number of figures from his own drawings, the whole of 
his important researches on this department of the animal king- 
dom. Those %vho are acquainted with this admirable work ; 
who have appreciated the immense extent and variety of the 
researches on which it is founded, and the satisfactory clearness 
and accuracy both of all its details, and of the general conclu- 
sions and arrangements founded on them, will be astonished to 
hear that its author has executed a series of investigations equally 
extensive on the vei'tebral animals, the vermes, the zoophytes, 
on many insects and Crustacea. He has not published them in 
the same way ; but the preparations are deposited in the cabinet 
of comparative anatomy at the Jardin des Plantes, and will be 
employed ultimately in that great work on comparative anatomy, 
to which all the previous and apparently finished productions 
of this philosophical and accomplished zoologist, are regarded 
by himself merely as a kind of prelude ; although any one out 
of their great number would have raised its author to a distin- 
guished rank in the scientific world. 

This history and anatomy of the moUusca is not the only 
claim, which Cuvier has to our gratitude within the past year. 
His work on the animal kingdom, in four volumes octavo, ex- 
hibits a methodical and philosophical view of the science of 
zoology : it places before us a subject capable of engaging and 
satisfying an inquiring mind ; not a dry and uninteresting detail 
of names and forms, but the i)hilosophical principles of zoolo- 
gical arrangement, and the execution of those principles through 
all their details. It establishes the divisions and subdivisions 
of the living world through the whole of the vast scale, on the 


double basis of external and internal structure : it enumerates all 
the well-authenticated species, which are known with certainty 
to belong to each subdivision, and enters into some details on 
those kinds, which from their abundance in these climates, the 
advantages we derive, or the injuries we suffer from them, from 
singularities in their manners or economy, their extraordinary 
forms, beauty, or size, become objects of particular interest. Of 
the confidence which this work deserves as a representation of 
facts, in contradistinction from compilations the fruit of labours in 
the closet, we may form a judgment from this circumstance, that 
with the exception of such animals, as by their minuteness elude 
the researches of the anatomist, there are very few groupes of 
the rank of sub-genera mentioned in the book, of which the 
author cannot produce at least some considerable portion of the 
organs. In each division and each species we are referred to 
the best sources of information ; not by indiscriminate and 
accumulated quotations, which only increase and j)erpetuate 
confusion, but by the selection of those works and figures, in 
which the character of originaUty belongs ; in short, by weighing 
and not counting authorities. A very valuable catalogue of 
zoological authors is subjoined. 

Tliat it bears marks of haste, and does not in all parts corres- 
pond to what we expect from the most knowing and most learned 
(which are by no means synonymous epithets) of modern zoolo- 
gists, might well be expected when we consider the wide field it 
embraces, the multifarious pursuits, and the important political 
and civil duties of the author. Yet, it is not less valuable than 
indispensable to every zoologist, as the most perfect delineation 
of the actual state of the science, as the most authentic and 
worthy of confidence in its details, and from the enlightened 
discrimination and criticism employed in the selection of au- 

If any of my hearers have regarded zoology as an arausem.ent 
rather than a philosophical pursuit, as something calculated to 
employ light minds, or occupy hours of leisure and relaxation, 
I would recommend them to survey the distribution of animals 
presented in this work. They will find that the science, thus 
treated, is not only capable of affording an ample source of agree- 
able and interesting instruction and entertainment, but also, 
that, in exhilnting a methodical arrangement of a most copious 
and multifarious subject, it is a very useful exercise and disci- 
pline of the mind. This advantage, of distributing and classing 


a vast number of ideas, which belongs in a remarkable degree 
to natural history, has not yet been so much insisted on as it 
deserves. It exercises us in that important intellectual operation, 
which may be called method, or orderly distribution ; as the 
exact sciences train the mind to habits of close attention and 
strict reasoning. Natural history requires the most precise 
method or arrangement ; as geometry demands the most rigo- 
rous reasoning. When this art (if it may be so called) is once 
thoroughly acquired, it may be applied with great advantage to 
other objects. All discussions that require a classification of 
facts, all researches that are founded on an orderly distribution 
of the subject, are conducted on the same principles ; and young 
men, who have turned to this science as a matter of amusement, 
will be surprised to find how much a famiUarity with its processes 
will facilitate the unraveUing all complicated subjects. 

I do not enter into any details of the accessions, for which 
science is indebted to this illustrious naturalist, this great com- 
parative anatomist ; because the limits of a lecture would be 
insufficient. Neither do I mean to compare or contrast * his 

* One object of the Physiological Lectures was to contrast Mr. Hunter's 
knowledge of comparative anatomy with that of Cuvier. The field of living 
nature has been surveyed and cultivated by these two great men with very 
dift'erent views and olijects ; by the former, for the elucidation of physiology"; 
by the latter, for establishing the laws of zoology. It would have been inte- 
resting to show how the general course of proceeding, the mode of investiga- 
tion, the selection of objects, and the result, have been modifieil by this 
diversity of design ; and to point out the differences which are traceable to 
the original diversity of endowment and of education. Such a comparison 
requires a mind free from the national affections and antipathies, in which the 
author of the Lectures glories : it requires too, that an accurate parallel .should 
be drawn by the labours and discoveries of each, and that all their resijective 
■writings should be well known. In the Lectures, there is no comparative 
statement of what these great men have accomplished ; and the author gives 
us to understand, that ofCuvier's numerous important works he is accjuamted 
onlj' with his Li-rtures on conqiaraiive Jlnalomy. Yet he does not abandon 
the design, but addresses his audience as Gentlemen of the Jury, comii.g for- 
wards as "a voluntary ailvocate in the cause of Hunter versus Cuvier 
and others," p. 16. In this mockery of a legal proceeding, he has unfortu- 
nately omitted every one of the cautions and regulations, which in the justly 
venerated forms of English judicial proceedings are designed to secure im- 
partial justice. Where is the enlightened jud^e indillerent to both parties? 
Where the impartial jury, any of whom may i)e challenged by the accused ? 
Where the advocate of tlie opposite i)arty 1 He soon gets sick of his trial ; 
does not even state the grievance complained of clearly ; adduces not a par- 
ticle of evidence ; but uniting in his own jjerson the characters of advocate, 
judge, and jury, and not hearing anything in behalf of the defendant, of 
course pronounces a verdict for his own client. Who the others are, com- 
bined in this charge with Cuvier, or what they have been guilty of, we are 
not informed. This hap])y thought of a trial is again introduced, and accom- 
panied with a complimentto British liberty (p. 334) : it was a singular period 
to select for such an eulogiuin, — for transplanting to the College of Surgeons 
the appeals to national vanity, which the increasing good sense and taste of 
tlie very galleries have nearly banished from the theatres. 

Having disposecl of Cuvier, the author makes very short work with Haller, 
Daubenton, Pallas, and Camper: thinking ajiparentlj-, that all merit allowed 
to them is so much clear loss to the object of his idohitry. 

Having shown how erroneous the opinion is, that our science owes any 


merits witli those of any other individual : because I do not 
possess any gauge for the mind ; I have no phunmet for sound- 
ing the depth of intellect ; nor any common measure by which 
its relative amount can be determined, under the different varie- 
ties of exertion. I should not be able to vt^eigh genius against 
acquirements, or to decide whether the quantity of discovery in 
one were equal to its quality in another. I can only state my 
own opinion ; which is, that if it were necessary to point out any 
one man, as the chief contributor to the present state of zoology 
in general, and of comparative anatomy in particular, to desig- 
nate any individual to whom the modern progress of these 
•"ciences has been principally owing, I cannot doubt that the 
naturalists of Europe would pronounce an unanimous verdict for 


Yet perhaps they would not like to come to a decision in sucli 
a question, and would prefer returning a special statement, that 
should satisfy the claim i of all, without conferring an offensive 
pre-eminence on any one. They might probably pronounce that 
the French academicians, that IIedi, Valisnieri, Swammer- 
DAM, Lyonnet, Reaumur, Daubenton, and Haller, had 
cleared the ground, dug out and laid the foundation of the build- 
ing ; — that Camper, Pallas, Hunter, Poli, Blumenbach, 
and Cuvier, had raised the edifice; — while innumerable other 
artists, by finishing particular apartments, or executing decora- 
tions and embellisliments, had signally contributed, not only to 
the commodiousness and comfort, but to the general effect of 
the whole. 

These great men, though born in different countries, may be 
considered to have been united as contributors to one common 
end, the advancement of useful knowledge. In reviewing their 
labours, let us keep our attention fixed on this object, and not 
look aside at the national questions, which divide and disturb 
mankind. We expect from science that it should strengthen 
feelings of benevolence, and promote acts of charity; — not 
encourage controversy, and inflame national rivalry; — that it 
should draw more closely those bonds which unite men toge- 
ther ; and not add fresh power to the repulsive forces which 
already separate them too widely. 

great obligations to these in lividuals, and relying firmly on the ig:norance of 
his audience in respeci ti; dates, he arrives easiiy at t"::e conclusion, "that 
the great illuminatiun, which comparative anatuiny and physiology have of 
late received on the Continent, has in a considerable degree resulted from 
retlectcd light, originally emanating from materials which Mr. Hunter brought 
together, and from his bridiunt physiological discoveries." P. 61, 



Lamarck is republishing in an enlarged form, his Natural 
History of the invertebral Animals ; and has already completed 
four volumes. 

Savigny has made some very interesting discoveries in the 
same division of the animal kingdom ; and has published them 
under the modest title of Memoirs on invertebral Animals ; of 
which two portions have already appeared. 

Mons. Blainville, who succeeds Cuvier in his lectures at 
the Jardin des Plantes, in the course of many years silently and 
steadily devoted under so able a teacher, to the study of natural 
history and comparative anatomy, has gained a most extensive 
stock of information on these subjects, and displays his thorough 
acquaintance both with their principles and details in numerous 
memoirs, chiefly contained in the Bulletin des Sciences, and 
other French collections. 

It is perhaps yet too soon to determine how these and similai- 
pursuits may be influenced by the recent political changes in 
France. Hitherto, however, science has not partaken in the 
triumph of legitimacy. 

Le Sueur, the fellow-traveller of Peron, who had long pro- 
mised a natural history of themedusce, to be illustrated by those 
inimitable delineations which he brought back from their voyage 
of discovery to the austral regions, has found himself unable to 
complete this undertaking, and is gone with many others, to the 
new world. If we cannot repress a sigh when we see men of 
peaceful pursuits thus torn from their native soil, and driven 
into foreign climes, let us rejoice, not only for them, but for all 
mankind, that such an asylum for the victims of power and op- 
pression exists ; that there is, not a spot, but a vast region of 
the earth, lavishly endowed with nature's fairest gifts, and exhi- 
biting at the same time the grand and animating spectacle of a 
country sacred to civil liberty ; where man may walk erect in 
the conscious dignity of independence, that 

"Lord of the lion heart and eagle eye," 

and enjoy full freedom of word- and action, without the permis- 
sion of those combinations or conspiracies of the mighty, which 
threaten to convert Europe into one great state prison. The 
numerous people, whose happiness and tranquillity are so eflfec- 
tually secured by the simple forms of a free government, are the 
growth of yesterday — at the same rate of progress, they may 
reach in our lives as gigantic a superiority over the worn-out 



despotisms of the old world, as the physical features of Ame- 
rica, her colossal mountains, her mighty rivers, her forests, and 
her lakes, exhibit in comparison with those of Europe. 



The Cultivation of Zoology and c»mpara/ive Anatomy recommended as Branches 
of general Knowledge, and as an interesting Department of Philosophy ; — 
Their Relation to various Questions in general Philosophy exemjdijied in the 
Gradations of Organisation, and the Doctrine of final Causes ; — Examples of 
the Aid they are capable of rendering to Geology and the physical History 
of the Globe ; — Their importance to Physiology, and consequently to the scientific 
Study of Medicine ; — Objects of Inquiry in tiic Animal Kingdom, and .Mode of 
Investigation ; — Anatomy ; — Physiology ; — Pathology. 

Gentlemen ! — Ha\'ing the honour of appearing before you 
for the third time, as professor of anatomy and surgery, I deem 
it a proper opportunity to observe, that the comparative esti- 
mate I originally formed of the exigencies of this office, and of 
the means I could bring forward for the purpose of meeting 
them, which would, at all times, have deterred me from pre- 
senting myself as a candidate for such a trust, remains unaltered 
by my subsequent experience : or rather, that it has been con- 
firmed by the nearer contemplation of a subject so arduous and 
ample, as to require the industrious devotion and undivided 
energies of an active and vigorous mind ; and by the discovery 
of those deficiencies in knowledge, which the urgency of other 
avocations leaves me no hope of filling up. In pursuing the 
path which I have entered upon, I must, therefore, still rely on 
that indulgent consideration which I know that you are dis- 
posed to extend to all sincere efforts at promoting the grand 
objects entertained by the Coiut of this College ; — I mean the 
diffusion throughout our body, and particularly among its rising 
members, of a taste for all the auxiliary pursuits which are 
capable of lending to our profession, either essential aid or 
graceful ornament ; the cultivation of surgery as a science ; and 
the securing for its honourable practitioners that rank in society 
and that public regard, which are the just meed of liberal pur- 
suits directed to the attainment of useful public ends. 

As the riches of our collection are more calculated for the 
leisure and deliberate survey of a \dsit to the museum, than for 
the distant and hasty exhibitions of this theat/e, I shall preface 
the demonstrative part of the lectures by some general dis- 

C 2 


corn's es, which will be devoted to illustrate the aim and utiUty 
of zoology in general, and of comparative anatomy in particular ; 
their relations to physiology, and to the sciences more imme- 
diately connected with our practical pursuits ; and the general 
principles, which are to be kept in view in cultivating these 
branches of knowledge. If, in this course, I should enter on 
topics, which have been already brought under your review this 
season, my apology must be, that my arrangements were made 
before my worthy colleague had begun his lectures, and that 
amputation or dislocation of the parts in question would have 
been troublesome, if not painful operations 

His interesting disquisitions on various parts of comparative 
anatomy were not felt by me in the light of invasion or encroach- 
ment. The manor of living nature is so ample, that all may be 
allowed to sport on it freely; the most jealous proprietor cannot 
entertain any apprehension that the game will be exhausted, or 
even perceptibly thinned : to introduce anything like the spirit 
of game-laws into science, would, if possible, exceed the oppres- 
sive cruelty and intolerable abuses of that iniquitous and exe- 
crable code. 

Having alluded to the course of lectures just finished, I should 
not do justice to my own feelings, nor to the merits of my 
esteemed coadjutor,* if I did not sincerely thank him for the 
information I have received — if I did not state, that, in listening 
to those luminous and eloquent discourses, I felt a satisfaction 
in belonging to a profession, which could boast such an asso- 
ciate, and express a wish that a series of lectures, so honourable 
to the author and to the profession, should receive tliat diffusion 
by the press, which must be both useful and gratifying to the 

I KNOW no branch of knowledge more interesting to mankind 
m general, including all ages and descriptions, than the history 
of living beings, or, as we commonly call it, the natural history 
of animals ; of which comparative anatomy is the very life and 
essence. This pleasing subject occupies us at the very first 
dawn of reason, amusing our earliest infancy ; and supplies a 
fund of solid instiniction and rational entertainment to our riper 
years, and more developed faculties. In its boundless extent 
and variety are included matters within the comprehension of 
the slenderest and least cultivated understanding ; and others, 
• Aut. Carlisle, Esq. 


to which the strongest minds and most enlarged science are not 
more than adequate. 

The resemblance, which animals bear to ourselves in frame 
and actions, naturally leads us to ascribe to them our own feel^ 
ings, to fancy that they are susceptible of our pleasures and 
pains, actuated by our desires and aversions, and impelled by 
the same motives or springs of action ; and thus excites in the 
mind, even of the youngest and most unlearned, a sympathetic 
interest and a degree of ciuriosity, which are never felt in exa- 
mining inorganic nature, or in contemplating its phenomena. 
None of the exhibitions in a fair are more crowded by young 
and old, the ignorant and the learned, than the collections of 
foreign and curious animals; no books are more generally read, 
than descriptions of the form, actions, habits, instincts, and 
character of living creatures. 

The knowledge of living nature, which is well worthy of cul- 
tivation, as a subject of mere amusement, at once innocent and 
rational, and therefore suited to all ages, presents other and 
higher claims to our attention. The multiplied relations, which 
animals bear to our own species ; supplying our most urgent 
wants, aiding our greatest undertakings, and giving full effect to 
our faculties and exertions ; and the important part they fill in 
the creation, animating and enlivening every scene, and ofte^i 
changing the very face of nature, can hardly escape the notice of 
the most unreflecting, and can only be neglected by those, who 
are contented to remain ignorant of the most striking pheno- 
mena around them. I do not speak at present of the important 
bearings, which zoology has on the science of human organiza- 
tion and life, and consequently on the art of healing ; but con- 
sider it merely as a branch of general knowledge. 

What a multitude of quadrupeds, birds, and fishes afford 
occupation, either directly or indirectl)^ to the many savage 
tribes, who live almost entirely on the produce of the chase or 
the fishery, or to the sportsman, who seeks in these pursuits 
merely a healthy recreation ! What an interest is felt in 
obser\'ing and investigating the habits of these various beings, 
in comparing and contrasting their diversified endowments; in 
watching the force and activity of some, the address, the strata- 
gems, and the cunning of others, the wonderful instincts of all, 
and the curious relation between their habits and the respective 
situations they occupy ! 
What a number of the inhabitants of the earth, air, and 


waters, are sacrificed to furnish us with food! while from the 
same source, we derive a still larger portion of our clothing. 
The number of living creatures, whether beasts, birds, and 
fishes, or even reptiles, worms, and insects, consumed for food 
in the various regions of the earth, is prodigious. None, even the 
most disgusting, as locusts, beetles, maggots, spiders, entirely- 
escape. When we add to these what are destroyed to supply 
us with clothing, particularly with wool, silk, leather, fur, fea- 
thers ; with the means of procuring light, as oil, spermaceti, wax, 
tallow ; with various articles of medicine, as hartshorn, musk, 
castor, Spanish flies; with the materials of numerous useful and 
elegant arts, as cochineal, parchment, glue, isinglass, catgut, 
bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl, hair, bristles, whalebone, horn; — 
and what are killed for our sport and amusement, or through 
abuse, wantonness, and cruelty ; the catalogue will be of im- 
mense length ; and will amply justify Dr. Spurzheim in ha\ing 
marked out so considerable a tract, in his map of the human 
brain, for the abode of destructiveness, and its near neighbour 
and close ally, combativeness : — to say nothing of that circum- 
stance, which is almost pecuhar to our species, viz. their killing 
each other ;* — a practice so essentially characteristic of human 
nature, that it prevails in every region and climate, in every 
variety of man, and in every state of society, from the rudest 
tribe of savages to the most highly civiUzed empire ; except, 
indeed, among the Quakers, and one or two equally inconsi- 
derable sects, whose singular and narrow-minded refusal to 
follow the way of the world in so innocent a particular, has been 
treated with suitable scorn and ridicule by their more enhght- 
ened fellow Christians. f 

* Besides war, " the game," our poet calls it, " which, were their subjects 
wise, kings should not play at," but which, unluckilj-, subjects enjoy almost 
as much as kings, 1 may refer to the human sacritices, which either have been 
or are still practised in most parts of the world; and to cannibalism, which, 
having been much doubted and questioned, is now clearly proved to be still 
prevalent in many places. 

t In complimenting the Quakers for not having followed (he wavlike and 
destructive example "set before them by the rest of mankind, I ought not to 
have conveyed raj' praise in the ironical form of blame, becaiise irony is often 
misunderstood, even where we may think such a mistake almost impossible, 
as in the case of the good bishop, who declared himself highly pleased with 
Gulliver's Travels, but added, that the book contained some things which he 
had a difficulty in believing. To obviate the possibility of further misunder- 
standing, I lay aside irony, and state must seriously and sincerely, that, whe- 
ther I regard'them as a religious sect, or as a body of citizens ; — wliethcr I look 
to their private or public conduct, 1 hold the Quakcis in the highest respect. 
As Christians they entertain no unintelligible articles of faith ; they waste no 
time in splitting the hairs of theological controversy ; their singular and 
honourable distinction is practical Christianity, evinced in blameless lives, in 
renouncing all force and violence, in endeavouring to fulfil literally the 
Gospel precepts of peace and goodwill, in active benevolence, in unremitted 


There are instances, in which whole tribes of human beings 
depend, for the supply of all their wants, on one or two species 
of animals. The Greenlander, and the Esquimaux of Labrador, 
placed in a region of almost constant snow and ice, where intense 
cold renders the soil incapable of producing any articles of human 
sustenance, are fed, clothed, and lodged from the seal. They 
pursue, indeed, the rein-deer, other land animals, and birds ; 
but seal-hunting is their grand occupation. The flesh and blood 
of the seal are their food ; the blubber or subcutaneous stratum 
of fat, affords them the means of procuring light and heat ; the 
bones and teeth are converted into weapons, instruments, and 
various ornaments ; the skin not only supplies them with cloth- 
ing, but with the coverings of their huts and canoes. TTie 
stomach, intestines, and bladder, when dried, are turned to many 
and various uses : in their nearly transparent dry state, they 
supply the place of glass in the windows ; they form bladders 
for their harpoons, arrows, nets, &c. ; when sewed together they 
make under garments, curtains, &c. ; and are employed in place 
of linen on many occasions. Thus every part of the animal is 
converted, by a kind of domestic anatomy, to useful purposes, 
even to the tendons, which, when split and dried, form excellent 
threads. To the pursuit of the seal, the canoes, instruments, 
weapons, clothing, education, and whole manner of life of the 
Greenlanders are adapted. As a plentiful supply of these animals 
enables them to dispense with every thing else, and as without 
these they could procure neither dwellings, clothes, nor food, it 
naturally follows that the great aim of education is to make the 
boys expert seal-hunters ; and that dexterity in this pursuit is 
the greatest praise that can be bestowed on the man.* The 
Laplanders and the Tungooses of north-eastern Asia, are equally 
indebted to the rein-deer ; the Tschutski, the north-west Ameri- 
cans, the Aleutians, and other neighbouring islanders, to the 
whale and walrus. The latter, as well as the Greenlanders, seem 
to have anticipated modern anatomists in accurately distinguish- 
ing the several anatomical textures, and ascertaining what 
BicnAT calls their "proprietes de tissue," or properties result- 
personal as well as pecuiiiavy co-operation in all measures calculated to dimi- 
nish the amount of human misery and suffering;, and to improve the condition 
of their fellow-creatures. These truly Christian merits would redeem much 
heavier sins than an adherence to the plain and simple garb, and the uncere- 
monious laiii^age of Georfje Fox and William Penn. 

• See the interesting; account of the Greenlanders in Crantz, Geschichte 
ron Gronland ; also E^ede, Description of Greenland ; Lond. 1818; of the Es- 
quimaux, in Ellis's Voyage to Hudson's Bay, p. 137, and following. 


ing from organization, in order to convert the various parts to 
the manifold purposes of their economical anatomy. They sur- 
prise us by manufacturing thread from the carcass of the great 
leviathan ; splitting the fibres of its cutaneous muscle (the panni- 
culus carnosus) into lengths of a hundred feet or more ; and 
preparing from it a double-threaded twine, which, in the united 
requisites of fineness and strength, vi^ill bear comparison with any 
productions of European industry. 

The flocks and herds, which are reared for food, and the various 
domesticated animals employed in agriculture, in carrying bur- 
dens, for draft, and in numberless other ways, are so useful and 
important, that their structure, economy, and diseases, have been 
carefully studied ; and these subjects have been found sufficient 
to occupy a particular class of persons. Indeed, without the 
dog, the horse, the sheep, the cow, the goat, the rein-deer, the 
camel, and the lama, many extensive regions of the globe would 
be uninhabitable; and others now covered with a numerous 
population, would be reduced almost to the condition of deserts. 
Comparative anatomy bears the same relation to the veterinary 
art, that human anatomy and physiology do to medicine. The 
pecuUarities in the organic structure and functions of particular 
genera or species lead to corresponding peculiarities in their 
diseases and derangements. Hence, a rational treatment of the 
disorders incidental to animals, presupposes a knowledge of the 
generic and specific characters of internal organization. It seems 
superfluous to adduce the digestion of the ruminant order, or 
other analogous instances, in illustration of a truth so evident 
in itself. 

Many animals are known to us as objects of alarm and terror, 
or of considerable though less serious annoyance. Some are 
directly formidable by their strength and ferocity, as beasts of 
prey ; others by their noxious properties, as venomous reptiles 
and insects. Some ravage our fields and gardens, destroying 
the various vegetable productions ; others attack our food and 
clothing. Some even perforate the planks of the largest ships, 
or the timbers of other submarine constructions. 

A more extensive field is opened to the philosopher in the 
structure and economy of animals ; in their analogies and differ- 
ences ; in the relation of their organization and functions to the 
circumstances in which they are placed, and in the modifications 
corresponding to the infinitely varied combinations of abode, 
surrounding element, food, mode of growth, and reproduction, 
&c. &c. 


We see some sagacious and docile, capable of instruction, 
exhibiting mental phenomena analogous to our own — the germs 
or imperfect state of what, when more developed, is human in- 
tellect : — others are stupid, ferocious, and untameable. Some 
are mild, sociable, and gregarious ; others wild, savage, and 
solitary. Many surprise us by their curious instincts, as in pro- 
viding for the abode, defence, or food of themselves or their 
offspring ; by the unerring regularity with which each individual 
of the species, unaided by experience or instruction, obeys, as it 
were, the fixed law of destiny, in performing at stated periods 
the longest journeys, as in the migration of birds and fishes, or 
executes the most perfect and intricate constructions, exceeding 
the utmost exertions even of human skill and wisdom. 

Some have an acuteness of the external senses, particularly 
sight, hearing, and smelling, to which we are strangers : in some 
we are astonished by the force, in others by the celerity and 
variety of motion. 

Some live altogether on flesh, others on vegetable matters ; — 
some eat incessantly, as our common graminivorous quadrupeds; 
others are satisfied with a full meal once a day, as the beasts of 
prey; and others, as certain reptiles, will eat only once in several 
weeks, and can even support an abstinence of many months. 

To many animals, the interruption of respiration for a minute 
or two, is fatal ; some can go without breathing for an hour, 
for many hours, or for days ; and others pass months together 
without the exercise of this function, in a condition of inactivity 
and torpor hardly distinguishable from death. 

To many, a slight injury of some organ is fatal; some sur\ive 
the loss of the most important members, and even reproduce 
them ; some, when divided into two or more portions, have the 
power of forming an entire individual from each fragment. 

It is the business of the philosophical zoologist to observe 
closely all the circumstances of these interesting phenomena, and 
of many other analogous ones ; to trace their connection with 
the rest of the economy, and with the peculiar organization of 
each animal ; to compare together all the diversities and modi- 
fications ; and thus to arrive, if possible, at the rational theory, 
or just explication of their causes. 

The gradations of organization, and the final purposes con- 
templated by nature in the construction of her hving machines, — 
two interesting and much-agitated sulyects in the philosophy of 
natural history, — receive their only clear illustration and incon- 
c 3 


trovertible evidence from comparative anatomy. Many naturalists 
have pleased themselves with arranging the animal kingdom in 
a successive series according to external form ; and have fancied 
it a peculiar mark of wisdom and beauty in the creation, that 
there are no abrupt changes, no breaks in the arrangement, but 
the most gradual and gentle transition from link to link through- 
out the whole chain. These views will not bear the test of im- 
partial scrutiny, which soon destroys the belief in such a chain 
of beings, so far as the basis of external figure goes. On the 
other hand, the pursuits of zootomy, in unfolding the internal 
mechanism and its movements, display the most evident tran- 
sitions and gradations of organization and economy. We see 
classes and orders, as, for example, birds, and the testudines (the 
turtle and tortoise kinds,) which, by their external configuration, 
are quite insulated in the creation, connected in the most natural 
manner %vith others of quite diiFerent form, and united to them 
by the principle of internal resemblance. 

The four component parts of the upper extremity ; viz. the 
shoulder, arm, fore-arm, and hand, can he clearly shown to exist 
in the anterior extremities of all mammalia, however dissimilar 
they may appear on a superficial inspection, and however widely 
they may seem to deviate from the human structure. The ^ving8 
of the bat, osteologically considered, are hands ; the bony 
stretchers of the cutaneous membrane being the digital phalanges 
extremely elongated. The dolphin, porpoise, and aU other 
whales have a fin on each side, just behind the head, consisting 
apparently of a single piece. But we find, under the integu- 
ments of this fin-like member, aU the bones of an anterior ex- 
tremity, flattened indeed, and hardly susceptible of motion on 
each other, but distinctly recognisable : there are a scapula, 
humerus, bones of the fore-arm, carpus, metacarpus, and five 
fingers. The fore-feet of the sea-otter, seal, walrus, and manati, 
form the connecting links between the anterior extremities of 
other mammalia, and the pectoral fins of the whale kind. The 
bones are so covered and connected by integuments, as to con- 
stitute a part adapted to swimming ; but these are much more 
developed than in the latter animal, and have free motion on 
each other. The bones of the wing of birds have a great and 
imexpected resemblance to those of the fore-feet of the mam- 
malia, and the fin-hke anterior member of the penguin, appli- 
cable only to swimming, contains within the integuments, the 
same bones as the wings of other birds, which execute the very 
difierent office of flight. 


The same point is illustrated by another kind of cases in com- 
parative anatomy ; viz. the existence of certain parts, generally 
in an imperfect state, or, in the anatomical phrase, as rudi- 
ments, in some animals, where the function does not exist, and 
where the parts therefore are not employed. It seems as if a 
certain model or original type, adapted to the intended functions, 
had been fixed on as a pattern for the constmction of nearly 
allied and analogous beings ; and that this model had been ad- 
hered to, even in those cases, where some particular func- 
tion did not exist, and where consequently the coiTesponding 
organ was in reality unnecessary. The additional pelvic bones, 
which support the false belly or abdominal pouch of the mar- 
supial animals, are found in the males, as well as in the females, 
although the former have not the pouch. Several carnivorous 
animals have clavicular bones, connected merely to the muscles, 
and obviously incapable of serving, even in the smallest degree, 
those purposes for which true clavicles are added to the skeleton. 
The breasts and nipples of male animals are another example. 

The marsupial bones and the milk-secreting apparatus of 
female animals are appointments of organization manifestly 
designed to fulfil certain ends, and accomplishing very essential 
purposes in the economy. In the male sex they are neither 
subservient to use nor ornament ; and seem, to ouj* imperfect 
knowledge, to exemplify the prevalence, in animal organization, 
of a mechanical principle, of the adherence to a certain original 
vpe or model. 

Tlie olfactory nerves of the cetacea, in whom the blowing 
holes occupy the place of the nose, afford another instance, the 
more remarkable, as their existence has been generally denied, 
even by the greatest authorities in comparative anatomy. They 
consist in the porpoise of two white extremely slender filaments, 
which, although visible to the naked eye, cannot be distinctly 
recognised as nerves without a magnifying glass.* 

No subject has been more warmly contested than the doc- 
trine of final causes ; which, however, has suffered more from 
the ill-judged efforts of its friends, than from the attacks of its 
enemies. We can hardly conceive that any person, who did not 

• Treviranus, Biulogie, b. v. p. 342, tab. 4. 

Blainville and Jacubsou had already asserted the existence of olfactory 
nerves in the cetacea in the Bulletin dvs Sciences, 1815, p. 195. 

In the work quoted above, Treviranus describes a very singular deviation 
from the ordinary arrangement, as occurring in the mole. A branch of the 
superior maxillary nerve goes to the eye, and forms the retina, while the 
optic nerves, about the size of hairs, are entirely unconnected with each other, 
and cannot be traced to the eyes. Ihid. p. 341, tab. 3. 


feel a difficulty in believing that a watch was formed for the pur- 
pose of showing the hour, could seriously doubt that our 
stomachs were expressly constructed for digestion, our eyes for 
seeing, and the rest of our organs for the purposes which they 
so admirably fulfil. But one must be very fondly attached to 
final causes to persuade himself, as some have done, that the sea 
is salt to preserve it from putrefying ; that the tides of the ocean 
are designed to bring our vessels safely into port ; that stones 
are made to build houses with ; and silkworms created in China 
to turnish the belles and beaux of Europe with satins. It would 
be only one step farther to assert that sheep have been formed to 
be sheared and slaughtered ; legs to wear boots, and the nose 
for spectacles. 

Nothing, indeed, can be more truly unsatisfactory than the 
well-meant but worn-out complimentary effusions we are too 
often doomed to encounter, which, instead of evincing the wis- 
dom of the creation, show only the foUy of their authors ; or at 
least their misconceptions and short-sighted views. The physico- 
theologists seem to have considered it their duty to point out 
the end and purpose contemplated by the Creator in every 
natural arrangement : thus, they have sometimes fallen into the 
laughable absurdity of expatiating on the wisdom of certain 
provisions, which subsequent examination has proved not to 
exist at aU. 

ITie foot of an hymenopterous insect was described as being 
perforated in a certain part by minute holes ; — immediately a 
sufficient use was discovered for this structure. It was described 
as a no less elegant than wise provision for sifting the pollen of 
plants, and thus applying the fine fecundating powder to the 
female organs : and, from the supposed structure and use, the 
creature received the name of sphex cribraria. Unluckily for 
the comphment thus designed to nature, the part was afterwards 
discovered not to be perforated.* 

Others, again, have so firmly believed, not only the wisdom 
of creation, but their own insight into it, that they have called 
in question the existence of particular arrangements, because 
they could not discern the purposes to which they are subser- 
vient. Thus, when Blumenbach pointed out to Camper 
that the tadpoles of the Surinam toad (rana pipa) have tails,i* 
this great anatomist was disposed at first to deem the specimen 

• Blumenbach, Beytrage zur Naturgeschichte, \'. theil, p. 40, note. 
i Abbildungen naturhulorischer Oegaiutande i No. 36, 


a monstrosity ; * because he could not comprehend for what 
purpose these strange beings, so curiously lodged in the dorsal 
cells of their mother, should have the smmming tail of the 
common tadpole. 

A distinguished English naturalist has argued that the fossil 
elephant bones must belong to some species still existing, 
because, says he, " Providence maintains and continues every 
created species ; and we have as much assurance, that no races 
of animals will any more cease, while the earth remaineth, than 
seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day 
and night." Unluckily for the credit of this gentleman's as- 
sumed acquaintance with the designs and schemes of Providence, 
we have the fullest evidence that many species and genera of 
animals have been annihilated. 

The philosophic naturalist, guided by comparative anatomy, 
discovers at every step striking peculiarities in the economy of 
animals, founded on corresponding arrangements of organiza- 
tion. We must take refuge either in verbal quibbles, or in an 
exaggerated and unreasonable scepticism, if we refuse to recog- 
nise in this relation between peculiarity of structure and func- 
tion those designs and adaptations of exalted power and 
wisdom, in testimony of which all nature cries aloud through aU 
her works. 

Many things are, indeed, at present inexplicable to us ; thus, 
we cannot conceive to what purpose the long, slender, and 
almost circular canine teeth of the upper jaw of the babyroussa 
are subservient; and the offices of many parts, even in the 
human body, are still hidden from us. But the ends or final 
purposes of the Creator will be placed in the strongest light by 
selecting any animal of marked pecuUarity in its economy, and 
comparing together its structure and mode of life. Let a person, 
who knows the natural history of the mole, attentively contem- 
plate its skeleton : if he should still withhold his behef in final 
purposes, he would probably coincide in opinion with a cele- 
brated member of the French Academy of Sciences, who declared 
that it was as absurd to suppose the eye intended for seeing, as 
to imagine that stones were created for breaking heads. 

I shall be contented with two other illustrations, which, 
although diflTerent from each other, are analogous in their pur- 
pose. The large cavities of birds, and the interior of their bones, 
are filled with air ; thus they are rendered hght and buoyant ; 
• Beytr. xur Naturg. p. 41, note. 


capable of raising themselves into the higher regions of the 
atmosphere, of sustaining themselves with little effort in this 
rare medium, and of cleaving the skies with wonderful celerity. 
Humboldt saw the enormous vulture of the Andes, the majestic 
Condor, dart suddenly from the bottom of the deepest valleys 
to a considerable height above the summit of Chimboraco, where 
the barometer must have been lower than ten inches.* He 
frequently observed it soaring at an elevation six times higher 
than that of the clouds in our atmosphere. This bird, which 
reaches the measure of fourteenf feet with the wings extended ; 
habitually prefers an elevation, at which the mercury of the 
barometer sinks to about sixteen inches. 

The mammalia, which live entirely or principally in the sea, 
as the whale kind, the walrus, the manati, and the seals, are 
rendered buoyant in this dense fluid by a thick stratum of fat 
laid OT'er the whole body under the skin. From this, which is 
called blubber, the whale and seal oil are extracted. The object 
of this structure in lightening these huge creatures, and facili- 
tating their motions, is obviously the same as that of the air-cells 
in birds in relation to the element they inhabit. 

A scientific acquaintance with the animal kingdom is not only 
valuable in its immediate reference to zoology and physiology, 
but it aids other sciences ; affording lights, which are not merely 
useful, but absolutely indispensable in examining and illustrating 
other departments of natural knowledge. An exemplification 
occurs in geology, or the science which treats of the physical 
construction of our globe. Certain rocks and earthy strata con- 
tain vast numbers of shells, exuviae of zoophytes, bones and teeth 
of large animals, besides other organic substances, in a fossil 

Considerable mountains and extensive districts are sometimes 
composed entirely of such animal remains. It is the business 
of the naturalist to compare these organic lemains of a former 
world with the corresponding objects in the present order of 
things; to determine their resemblances or differences; — whether 
they are of the same or of different species or genera ; to com- 
pare the productions of the different strata to each other, and to 
distinguish those, which have belonged to fresh, from those of 

• Nccuei! de Observations de Zonlogie ei d' Jnatoniie comparee. Essai sur 
I'Hist .ire naturpUe du Condor, p. 26, et suiv. pi. 8 et9. 

+ Molina, Storia vaturalc di Chili, cap. 4; s. 5. This measure is assigned 
by Shaw to an individual described and figured by him : Musewn Lererianum 
V. 1, pi. 1. 


salt water animals ; and lastly, to ascertain whether the organic 
fossils of each country are like the living animals of the same, 
or of difterent and remote regions and climates. Such investiga- 
tions require extensive and accurate information, an acquaintance 
both with the great outlines and minute details of nature, and 
belong therefore to an advanced stage of science. They have 
been commenced with zeal and industry by some of the greatest 
modern naturalists, and have led to highly interesting results. 
The bones of large quadrupeds, found in such numbers in almost 
aU the countries of the old and new continent, have been disco- 
vered to belong to species and even to genera entirely new to us. 
One of these, an elephant, specifically distinguishable from that of 
Asia and Africa, has been met with in most parts of Europe, in 
countries and climates, where no animal of the kind has ever 
been known in a living natural state, and in which the known 
species, inhabitants of the torrid zone, would be speedily de- 
stroyed. The fossil shells differ more or less from those of living 
species. In many places several successions of fresh and salt 
water strata are discovered, indicating successive revolutions in 
the earth's surface, under the action of causes differing from each 
other in their nature. The inferior layers, or the first in order 
of time, contain the remains most widely different from the 
animals of the living creation ; and, as we advance to the surface, 
there is a gradual approximation to our present species. 

These examinations have furnished almost the only accurate 
data for any reasonable conclusions respecting the number, 
nature, and progressive series of tiie changes which have affected 
the earth's surface ; — of the preadamitic revolutions of the globe ' 
and they suggest matter for curious speculation respecting the 
extinct races of animals, and the mode in which their place has 
been supplied by the actual species of living beings. The writings 
of CuviER, Brongniart, and Lamarck in France, and of 
Mr. Parkinson in this country, will give you the best informa- 
tion on this new kind of antiquarian research, on those authentic 
memorials of beings, whose living existence must be carried 
beyond the reach of history and tradition, beyond even the fabu- 
lous and heioic ages, and has been supposed, with considerable 
probability, to be of older date than the formation of the human 

Another important branch of the physical history of the globe 
belongs to zoology ; I mean the nature, origin, and j)rogress of 
the banks, reefs, and rocks of coral, and even the islands, which 


are perpetually arising and accumulating in the intertropical seas. 
These vast masses of calcareous matter are aggregated by the slow 
but incessant operations of countless millions of minute beings, so 
small and so simply organized, that they occupy the lowest rank of 
animal existence, and indeed have been recognised only in late 
times as falling within the boundaries of the animal kingdom. 
Their works commence in the fathomless depths of the ocean ; 
they rise towards the surface, forming sunken rocks, dangerous, 
and often fatal to navigators ; they reach the level of the water, 
and then extend in length and breadth. "When we see that 
banks are formed of miles in extent, that coasts are obstructed, 
harbours choked, and even new islands formed, the mind is con- 
founded by the contrast between the insignificance of the agents 
and the magnitude of the result. 

Other points of view, and other applications of zoology, will 
be disclosed as we proceed. More perhaps has been already 
said than was necessary to convince an enlightened audience that 
the Uving part of nature's works is highly worthy of attention, 
and that this study, connected as it is with so many useful, in- 
teresting, and important departments of knowledge, must be 
deemed an essential branch of liberal education. 

To these considerations, which recommend zoology, not only 
as a highly interesting, but essential branch of general know- 
ledge, many others may be added, enforcing the cultivation of 
comparative anatomy and physiology, more particularly on those 
who devote themselves to the improvement of medicine. The 
basis of our physiological principles is rendered broader and 
deeper, in proportion as our survey of living beings is more ex- 
tensive. The varieties of organization supply, in the investiga- 
tion of each function, the most important aids of analogy, com- 
parison, contrast, and various combination ; and the nature of 
the process receives at each step fresh elucidation. These en- 
larged views, which unfold to us the natural play of the animal 
mechanism, are our surest guide in the study of its deranged 
motions, an essential criterion for estimating the nature and de- 
gree of the deviation, and an important indication of the means 
by which it may be corrected. Thus, general anatomy and phy- 
siology furnish the principles, by which we are guided in our 
attempts to preserve health, to alleviate and remove disorder, 
and cure disease. On such researches, and such studies, on a 
foundation no less extensive than the whole empire of hving 
nature, the science of medicine must be established ; if, indeed. 


it be destined to occupy the rank of a science ; if its practical 
precepts, its curative efibrts, and its technical proceedings be 
grounded in, and derived from a knowledge of the corporeal 
mechanism, and a contemplation of its mode of action, from ob- 
servations of its deranged state, and of the course and order by 
which the return to health may be safely accomplished ; if, in 
short, it shall be permanently raised above its early state of an 
empirical and bhnd behef in the virtues of herbs, drugs, and 
plasters, or above its modern but equally deplorable con- 
dition of servile submission to the dogmas of schools and 
sects, or subjection to doctrines, parties, or authorities. I ap- 
peal to the illustrious founder of our collection, to his labours 
and his writings ; to that change in the state of surgery, which 
his exertions and his example have accomplished. Such achieve- 
ments by a single hand, hold out to us the brightest prospects 
and most encouraging anticipations of the ample harvest await- 
ing the united efforts of more numerous cultivators. From this 
quarter we must expect the future improvement of our profes- 
sion ; not from the addition of new medicines to a catalogue 
already too long ; not from fresh accessions to that mass of 
clinical observations, which lie unread on the shelves of our 
medical libraries. 

In investigating the nature of living beings, various objects of 
inquiry present themselves, and various modes of proceeding 
may be adopted. We may examine their structure ; the num- 
ber, form, size, relative position, and connexions of the organs, 
by the assemblage of which they are constructed : their tex- 
ture ; that is, the primary animal tissues, which compose the 
various organs, and their mode of union ; their elementary com- 
position ; or the number, nature, and combinations of the ele- 
ments into which they can be resolved : lastly, their Uving phe- 
nomena ; the vital properties with which all the primary tissues 
are endowed, the offices or functions executed by the organs, and 
the mutual influences and div'ersified dependencies, which, regula- 
ting the order and succession of these living operations, combine 
so many partial and subordinate motions into one beautiful and 
harmonious whole. 

It is the business of the anatomist to demonstrate the struc- 
ture, and unravel the texture of animal bodies ; their composi- 
tion falls within the department of the chemist, and their vital 
phenomena occupy the labours of the physiologist. Anatomy, 
therefore, teaches us the organization of animals, while physio- 


logy unfolds the nature of life. The third division forms a kind 
of border territory, lying between the domains of chemistry and 
physiology, alternately occupied and cultivated by both. Under 
the name of animal chemistry, it has received, of late years, a 
constantly increasing share of attention, and produced import- 
ant accessions to our knowledge of the composition and opera- 
tions of animal bodies. 

This branch of inquiry is much less advanced than that which 
concerns their structure ; and its progress is impeded by some 
peculiar difficulties. The primary textures are so intimately 
blended in all organs, that their complete separation seems im- 
possible. The cerebral and nervous medulla is every where 
interwoven and surrounded by cellular substance and vessels ; 
the muscular fibre with cellular substance, vessels, nerves, and 
fat ; the ceUular substance itself with vessels and fat. Hence 
arise doubts how far the results of experiment are to be attri- 
buted to one or the other ingredient ; so that we can seldom 
attain certainty, but must rest contented with probability. In 
many cases we do not even know the primary tissues. Are the 
stout sides of the uterus, or the beautiful and delicate moveable 
curtain of the iris, cellular or muscular, or does each contain 
some peculiar and not yet ascertained tissue ? In a great num- 
ber of living beings our senses are not even able to settle the 
question. Who can decide whether the soft, tender, and almost 
deliquescent body of the polype is made up of muscular fibres, 
or of cellular tissue ? 

By etymology and original acceptation, physiology means 
doctrine of nature, and is not very appro])riately applied to that 
limited division of natural science, which has for its object the 
various forms and phenomena of life, the conditions and laws 
under which this state exists, and the causes which are active in 
producing and maintaining it. A foreign writer * has proposed 
the more accurate term of Ijiology, or science of life. 

Life, using the word in its popular and general sense, which 

at the same time is the only rational and intelligible one, is 

merely the active state of the animal structure. It includes the 

notions of sensation, motions, and those ordinary attributes of 

living beings, which are obvious to common observation. It 

denotes what is apparent to our senses ; and cannot be applied 

• G. R. Treviranus of Bremen, wliose Biologie, oder Philosophie der leben- 
den A'atur fur NalurJ'orscher und Aerzte, in 5 vols. 8vo., but not yet finished, 
is a very interesting work, both for the i)hiIosophic plan on which it is 
founded, ai.d the original views with which it abounds. 


to the offspring of metaphysical subtlet\', or immaterial abstrac- 
tions, without a complete departure from its original accepta- 
tion ; without obscuring and confusing what is other'nise clear 
and intelligible. 

The close connection between life and respiration has not 
escaped the notice of ordinar)' observers ; of those who were 
ignorant of anatomy and physiology. Hence the breath has 
been popularly deemed the mark of life. The Latin anima, or 
breadth (from the Greek o^/e/xos, wind), was also used to express 
the vital principle, the essence of life being supposed identical 
with the breath. But in the phrases aniinam efflare, exspirare, 
&c. the word seems to be used in its original sense. In the 
same way the Latin spiritus, or original of our spirit, from spire 
to breathe, means merely breath ; the same is the case with the 
Greek ni'fvfj.a ; and this is the original sensible object, out of 
which all the abstractions and fancies, all the verbal sophistry 
and metaphysical puzzles about spirit have proceeded. 

Anatomy and physiology should be cultivated together ; — we 
should combine observation of the function with examination of 
the organization. The subjects are often distinctly treated in 
books : let not, however, this unnatural separation lead you into 
the error of \dewing the vital manifestations as something inde- 
pendent of the organization, in which they occur. Bear in mind 
that every organ has its living phenomena and its use, and that 
the chief ultimate object, even of anatomy, is to learn the nature 
of the function : — on the other hand, that every action of a living 
being must have its organic apparatus. There is no digestion 
without an alimentary cavity ; no biliary secretion without some 
kind of liver ; no thought without a brain. 

To talk of hfe as independent of an animal body ; to speak of a 
function without reference to an approjniate organ, is physiolo- 
gically absurd. It is in opposition to. the evidence of our senses 
and rational faculties. It is looking for an eflFect without a 
cause. We might as reasonalily expect daylight while the sun 
is below the horizon. What should we think of abstracting 
elasticity, cohesion, gravity, and bestowing on them a separate 
existence from the bodies in whicli those properties are seen ? 

Haller, the father and founder of modern physiology, has 
furnished us the best example, both for the method of cultivating 
the subject, and of treating it in writing. He had devoted thirty 
years to the dissection of human bodies, and those of animals, 
and to observation and every variety of experimental research, 
before he began to compose his Elementa PhysiologicE. In this 


matchless work, a full anatomical description of every orgarl, 
drawn from his own dissections, precedes the history of its func- 
tions. I know no anatomical descriptions superior to these ; 
none deserving more implicit confidence. To regard this work 
as a mere register of opinions, has always appeared to me very 
unjust; it contains new and accurate information on almost 
every part of the subject. It is no slight proof of its merits, that 
although published in the middle of the last century, it remains 
the book of authority ; and particularly in this country, which is 
still destitute of original and standard works, in anatomy and 

In impressingupon your minds the close connection of anatomy 
and physiology, I do not mean to represent to you that the former 
teaches the latter. Strictly speaking, structure alone is learned 
by dissection : the vital properties of organic textures, and the 
functions of organs, are found out by observation. We have the 
most perfect anatomical knowledge of the spleen, thymus and 
thyroid gland ; but their offices in the animal economy are wholly 
unknown. What organ has been more carefully dissected and 
studied than the brain ? yet the respective offices of its various 
portions have not been discovered. 

Anatomy however unfolds facts, of which the knowledge is 
absolutely necessary in appreciating the results of observation. 
It affords the only clue capable of guiding us through the multi- 
plied and varied movements all going on together in the living 
microcosm, and of thus enabling us to discriminate the proper 
share of each organic apparatus. What kind of knowledge could 
the most ])atient and acute observer gain of the circulation, if he 
knew nothing about the structure of the heart, lungs, arteries, 
and veins ? What insight could he acquire into the changes of 
the food, and the nutrition of our bodies, if the alimentary canal, 
with its divisions and appendages, and the absorbing vessels, 
were unknown to him ? Just notions of the seat and nature of 
diseases, and of the operation of remedies, would be out of the 
question ; but what chance has a person, ignorant of the general 
construction of our frame, of escaping from the most absurd doc- 
trines and systems, and from the most jjernicious practical errors ? 

Anatomy, again, clears up doubtful points, and suggests topics 
of inquiry. It is a test and criterion of physiological explana- 
tions : if the latter are inconsistent with the anatomical facts, 
they must be rejected. 

That its aid is essential to physiology, may be proved by refer-* 
ring to what even the most acute men have written about the 


animal economy, before anatomy had been cultivated. It is a 
mass of error and fiction, without the smallest pretence to the 
title of physiology. 

Anatomy and physiology are the groundwork of pathology, or 
the science of disease. 

Disease is a relative term, implying a comparison with a state 
of health, and presupposing a knowledge of that state. To 
anatomy, or, science of healthy structure, is opposed morbid 
anatomy, or science of diseased structure : to physiology, or 
doctmie of healthy functions, pathology, or doctrine of diseased 
manifestations. Morbid anatomy shows us the diseases ; patho- 
logy their external signs or symptoms. Often no change of 
structure is observable : the deviations from the healthy con- 
dition elude our means of inquiry. The organ is said to be func- 
tionally disordered. 

ITius we find that anatomy, physiology, morbid anatomy, 
and pathology, are mutually related and intimately connected. 
Although called separate sciences, they are, in truth, parts of one 
system ; and we must never lose sight of their mutual bearings. 
On the foundation of these four departments of knowledge or sci- 
ence, is raised the practice of medicine, or the healing art:— over- 
looking the artificial distinctions of physic, surgery, and so forth. 

But is all this knowledge necessary for a practitioner ? is it 
required that a physician or a surgeon should know anatomy 
natural and morbid, physiolog}', pathology ? To the science of 
medicine, and to its rational improvement and extension, it is 
necessary ; but by no means so to the mere routine of practice, 
and the very successful prosecution of the trade. Perhaps, in- 
deed, a firm faith in drugs and plasters, and a liberal adminis- 
tration of them, may be the surer road to popular success, if the 
remark addressed by a veteran practitioner to a young enthusiast 
in science be weU grounded: "Juvenis, tua doctrina non pro- 
mittit opes ; plebs amat remedia." 

A common sailor uses his glass without knowing the laws of 
optics, or even suspecting their existence. But, would Galileo 
have invented the telescope, and have given to mankind the 
power of penetrating into space, if he had been equally ignorant ; 
if he had been unacquainted with the action of various media, 
and of variously shaped surfaces on the rays of light ? An ordi- 
nary workman, of education and habits purely mechanical, con- 
structs the m^ost powerful astronomical instruments ; but it 
belongs only to a Hehschel or a La Place to improve these 
means, and to employ them so as to unfoid the structure of th? 


universe, and expound the lav/s which govern the motions of the 
heavenly bodies. 

I'he collection of this College was formed, and is now arranged, 
in conformity to the views just alluded to. The anatomical pre- 
parations exhibit the organs in the manner best calculated to 
elucidate their functions. To the rich and valuable series of 
healthy parts, there is added a parallel and equally extensive 
arrangement of morbid specimens. 

Mr. Hunter was the first in this country, who investigated 
disease in a strictly philosophic method ; bringing to bearflpn it 
the clear and steady lights of anatomy and physiology. He 
began by discarding all the doctrines of the schools, and resorted 
at once to nature. Instead of creeping timidly along the coast of 
truth, \\ ithin sight of precedent and authority, he boldly launched 
into the great ocean of discovery, steering by the polar star of 
observation, and trusting to the guidance of his own genius. 

His claim to the gratitude of English surgeons will be suffici- 
ciently established by comparing surgical science before his time 
with its present state ; and by contrasting, at the two periods, 
the relative rank of surgeons in public estimation. It would be 
foreign to my present purpose to pursue this topic : I shall 
therefore merely entreat you to bear it in mind ; and to remem- 
ber, that the true dignity of the profession, in which every indi- 
vidual member is a sharer, will be best promoted, not by partial 
privileges and arbitrary exclusions, not by anything which royal 
charters or legal enactments can bestow or withhold, but by that 
scientific cultivation and honourable practice, which constitute 
the only just claim to public esteem and confidence. It would 
be unnecessary for me to enter into further detail on a matter, 
which has been already brought before you with such forcible 
appeal to the best feelings of our nature, such display of elevated 
and honourable sentiments, and such felicity of expression, bv 
my ingenious, eloquent, and worthy colleague.* 


On the Study of Physiology ; — The Aids and Illustrations to be derived from 
other Scii.nt:cs, as Natural Philosophy, Mathematics, Chemistry. — Study of the 
physical Sciences recommended. — Peculiar Character of the vital Phenomena. 
— Living Properties. — Attempted hypotlietical Explanations of them. — Com- 
parative Anatomy ; its Objects ; its Relations to Physiology exemplified. 

Dissection and the various auxiliary processes employed by 
the anatomist, are the only means of learning the structure of 

• Ant. Carlisle, Esq. 


living beings ; observation and experiment the only sources of 
our knowledge of life. These are the tests or criteria, on which 
we must depend, and to which we must always refer. No posi- 
tion respecting structure can be listened to unless it admits of 
verification by appeal to anatomy ; no physiological statement 
deserves attention, unless it be confirmed by observation. 

Is this then all ? Are the labours of so many celebrated men, 
the accumulated harvests of so many centuries, reduced to the 
mere results of dissection and observation ? It is so, in respect 
to real knowledge ; and it will be occupation enough to anato- 
mists and physiologists, for many ages, to cultivate these pur- 
suits The multitude and variety of organs in the human body, 
the complexity of their structure, the modifications incidental to 
each, and their mutual influences, otfer a most extensive field of 
investigation, requiring so much time and assiduity, so much 
caution and discrimination, that the qualities necessary to a 
successful pursuit of physiology cannot be often combined in 
one individual. 

When to man we add all the living beings, which fill every 
department of nature, and consider the diversities and new 
combinations, by which they are enabled to fulfil their various 
destinies, it will be hardly figurative to say that the objects of 
inquiry are infinite and inexhaustible. 

In this, as in most other subjects, the quantity of solid 
instruction is an inconsiderable fraction of the accumulated 
mass. A few grains of wheat are buried and lost amid heaps 
of chaff. For a few well-observed facts, rational deductions, 
and cautious generalisations, we have whole clouds of systems 
and doctrines, of speculations and fancies, built merely 
on the workings of the imagination, and the labours of the 

In reference, however, to biology, or the science of life, I may 
observe, that descriptions of particular animals, and surveys of 
detached districts in the great kingdom of nature, are not so 
much wanted at present, as the assemblage and assortment of 
the facts already accumulated, and the employment of them by 
some v^igorous and comprehensive mind to furnish the funda- 
mental principles of the science of living nature. It is employ- 
ment, and not mere possession, that gives a value to intellectual 
as well as material wealth. We have had workmen enough to 
toil in the mine and the quarry ; they have raised and roughly 
fashioned an abundance of materials ; and we now only wait for 


the architect who shall be able to employ them in constructing a 
temple suitable in majesty and simplicity to the Divinity, whose 
shrine it is destined to contain. 

The parts of natural history having been cultivated in a 
detached manner, its doctrines were long in an insulated state ; 
unconnected to each other, like the pyramids in the deserts of 
Egypt ; as the number of detached parts increased, the neces- 
sity of a system was felt, to bind them together, however 
imperfectly, into something like a connected whole. 

After many unsuccessful attempts by his predecessors, 
LiNNEUS produced an arrangement of natural objects, which 
met with very general approbation and adoption. The efforts 
of naturalists were subsequently directed to the correction and 
extension of his system ; to the formation of arrangements for 
detached parts, in imitation of that which he had framed for the 
whole; and in the description of new genera and species. These 
efforts have been continued to the present day in a constantly 
increasing ratio; but, perhaps, without a due consideration 
whether any results of proportionate utility to mankind v/ere 
likely to reward so much pains and trouble. Some, indeed, 
and among them Linneus, were aware that all these artificial 
systems, without reference to higher objects, were almost lost 
labour; but they did not attempt to pursue those objects. The 
ultimate purpose of our researches in natural history is to pene- 
trate and lay open the secret springs, by which the great system 
of organization called nature, is maintained in perpetual acti- 
vity. Now, towards the accomplishment of this purpose, the 
artificial systems, on which so much labour has been bestowed, 
are hardly the first step. They do not exhibit the science, but an 
index, or register of nature ; which indeed has its recommen- 
dations of utility in other respects. The assemblage of the 
numerous facts, which are scattered through the works of natu- 
ralists, and their combination into a whole, with reference to the 
purpose just mentioned, and with a view to establishing the 
laws of life, would possess a much higher value than all the 
descriptions of new animals and plants, which teach us little 
more than that they have such or such appearances, and that 
they occur in this or that corner of the earth. 

If the science of life, and with it some of the most important 
departments of human knowledge, be destined to make any de- 
cided progress towards perfection, it must be by the road of 
■ txperience, aided and enhghtened by general philosophy. The 


way, indeed, is in some parts difficult, and its length indefinite : 
but, whether we reach the end or not, our ver}' efforts, and the 
active state of mind they maintain, will be a sufficient recom- 
pense ; as the pleasure of the chase, and the healthy vigour it 
imparts, reward us, even when the game escapes. 

" The intellectual worth and dignity of man are measured, not 
by the truth which he possesses, or fancies that he possesses, 
but by the sincere and honest pains he has taken to discover 
truth. This it is that invigorates his mind ; and by exercising 
the mental springs, preserves them in full activity. Possession 
makes us quiet, indolent, jjroud. If the Deity held in his right 
hand all truth, and in liis left only the ever-active impulse, the 
fond desire, and longing after truth, coupled with the condition 
of constantly erring, and should offer me the choice ; I should 
humljly turn towards the left, and say. Father, give me this : 
pure truth is fit for thee alone."* Thus spoke a sage ; and his 
determination seems as whe as the famous choice of Hercules. 

In commencing the study of physiology, we are first led to 
inquire, whether living beings are subject to the same laws as 
inorganic bodies; wliether the vital processes can be explained 
on the same principles as the otlier phenomena of matter ; whe- 
ther, in short, the elucidations of the physical sciences are equally 
applicable to the sciences of life. That animals obey those 
general laws which regulate matter and motion in all other cases, 
that all their parts, as well as their entire masses, are subject to 
the influences of gravity, imj)ulse, and the like, is too obvious to 
be a subject of question. The jioint of inquiry is, whether the 
internal movements of the animal macliine are explicable by the 
laAvs of mechanics and hydraulics ; wlietlier, like these, they can 
be subjected to calculation; whether the changes of composition 
incessantly going on in all parts of the frame, can be assimilated 
to the operations of our laljoratories, or reduced to the laws of 
external chemistry ; whether any living phenomena can be so 
far likened to those of electricity, galvanism, magnetism, as to 
justify us in referring for their explanation to the same i)rinciples. 

In the beginning of the last century, the leading authorities 
in physiology, of whom Boerhaave may be mentioned as the 
head, supposed that all the functions of the living body, except 
the will, are carried on by mechanical movements, susceptible 
of rigid calculation, necessarily succeeding each other in the 
organs from the time that life commences. Those movements 

• Trcviranus, Biologic; b. 1, 


he referred to an impulsive power in the heart, renewed by the 
influence of the nervous fluid brought from the brain. In this 
explanation the body is an hydraulic machine, in which the heart 
performs the ofliice of a piston : the beautiful construction and 
endless variety of the animal organization are reduced to an as- 
semblage of pipes, canals, levers, pulleys, and other mechanism. 
The treatises on physiology of this period, were filled with mathe- 
matical problems, long calculations, and algebraic formulae. 

This system maintained its ground for a long time, in defiance 
of observation and common sense. In palliation of what sti'ikes 
us now as so extravagantly erroneous, it must be observed, that 
many things in the animal economy admit of explanation on 
these principles. The structure and motions of the joints are 
purely mechanical ; and the degree of effect produced by the 
muscles of a limb, like the acting force of a moving power 
applied to a common lever, depends entirely on the relative 
situation of their tendino-is insertions to the centre of motion, 
and the relation which the course of their fibres bears to the axis 
of the moving bone. All these things may be exactly determined 
by calculation as the operation of common levers : but the con- 
traction of the living fibre, or original moving force, cannot be 
submitted to calculation, cannot be in the slightest degree elu- 
cidated by mechanics. 

The valves of the heart and blood-vessels act mechanically, 
and operate as well in the dead, as in the living body. ITie 
swelling of the veins of the lower limbs in the erect posture, 
and the turgescence of the same vessels in the head and neck, 
when they are held in a dependent attitude, will convince us 
that, although the blood flows through living canals, its motion 
is not withdrawn from the all-pervading influence of gravity. 

The transparent parts of the eye act on the rays of light ac- 
cording to the common laws of optics ; and bring them to a focus, 
so as to form an inverted picture of the object on the retina, just 
as well in the dead, as in the living organ, provided their trans- 
parency be unimpaired. 

The operation, however, of those natural laws, to which living, 
as well as other bodies are subject, is constantly modified in the 
former case, by the vital powers ; and this essential element in 
all mathematico-physiological considerations, is, by its very na- 
ture, fluctuating and indeterminate. Uncertainty in the condi- 
tions of a problem, whether in respect to their entire number, or 
to the quantity of each, is an original sin, for which no subse- 


quent accuracy can atone ; and this character, belonging to all 
the circumstances of ahnost every case in the aniiuai ecunomy, 
not only effectually precludes all useful application of mathema- 
tics to physiology, but renders their employment a source of 
nothing but error and confusion. We can very seldom satisfy 
ourselves that all the data are before us ; and the precise amount 
of each cannot be determined in any instance : nay more, varia- 
tion and fluctuation are essential characters of all vital processes. 
The totally inconsistent results, at which different mathematical 
physiologists have arrived, in treating of the same functions, 
shows us that very little useful service can be looked for from 
this quarter. One estimated the force of the heart as equal to 
180,000 lbs. ; another reduced it to 8oz. ; and both these con- 
clusions are deduced from reasonings clothed in all the imposing 
forms of the exact sciences. 

The circulation, in which a central impelling machine drives 
the blood through an arrangement of tubes, seems naturally to 
fall under the laws of hydraulics : and the course of the blood 
in its hving channels, no doubt, obeys the same laws that go- 
vern the transmission of fluids through inanimate canals. But, 
if we attempt to submit this intricate process to calculation, we 
are stopped at the very outset by discovering, that, of its nume- 
rous conditions, not one is ascertained with sufficient accoracy 
for our purpose. It would be necessary to know the amount of 
nervous influence on the heart and blood-vessels, the measure 
of active and passive power on the former organ, the quantity of 
blood arri\ang at and departing from it, the elastic and other 
properties of the vessels, their various capacities, the resistance 
of the column in the arteries and veins, the density and cohe- 
sion of the blood, and many other points : — and to knov,- all 
these with perfect accuracy. Even if all this were accomplished, 
the great number of elements entering into such a theory would 
conduct us to impracticable calculations. It would be the most 
complex case of a problem, which is extremely difficult of solu- 
tion in its simple state. The ablest geometricians, sensible of 
these difficulties, speak of the operations of living bodies with a 
modest caution, to which the bold calculations of some physio- 
logists form a striking contrast. They acknowledge that the 
springs of the animal frame are too numerous, too intricate, and 
too imperfectly known to be submitted, with any prospect of ad- 
vantage, to calculation ; that, in such complicated operations, 
experience is our only safe-guide, and inductions from numerous 
D 2 


facts the only sure supjiort of our reasonings. The most just 
calculations on such subjects can merely appreciate our igno- 
rance ; which may indeed be concealed, but cannot be removed, 
by the vain parade of a science foreign to medicine. 

If we define chemistry as the science which teaches us the 
composition of bodies, explaining the laws, according to which 
their elementary particles act on each other, when brought into 
contact, the combinations or separations which result from theijr 
affinities, and the circumstances which promote or obstruct the 
action of those affinities, we must allow that many of the animal 
processes exhibit to us chemical operations. Such are the 
changes wrought upon the food by the solvent juices of the 
stomach, and by the admixture of bile, pancreatic liquor, and 
intestinal secretions ; the new combinations, which the elements 
of the blood enter into in the glands, the membranes, and the 
skin, and in the texture of the various organs, so as to exhibit 
to us a new set of products ; the conversion of chyle and lymph 
into blood ; and the mutual action of this fluid and the atmos- 
phere in respiration. 

Chemical researches into the composition of the fluids and 
solids of the animal frame, and comparative examinations of 
them Tmder the differences of age, sex, climate, food, mode of 
life, and the various incidences of disease, have thrown great 
light both on the healthy and disordered actions of our frame ; 
particularly those inquiries which have been conducted with the 
advantages of the modern improvements in chemical science. 
Further benefit is to be expected from a continuance of thesje 
exertions ; and we can have no hesitation in admitting that 
many important points in physiology cannot be understood, the 
nature and result of many animal processes cannot be appre- 
ciated, by a person unacquainted with chemistry. 

Nor is the benefit confined to physiology; the kindred sciences, 
which have for their object the knowledge of disease, its preven- 
tion and cure, owe great and important obligations to modern 
chemistry. By unfolding the composition, and separating the 
various ingredients contained in an apparently homogeneous 
fluid, the urine, it has enabled us to form some conception of 
the important purposes executed by the kidney. By sho^ving 
the deviations which this animal fluid exhibits in various con- 
ditions of disease, it has elucidated the mechanism of many dis- 
ordered actions; and, by discovering what particular ingredients 
existed in undue proportion, it has suggested the means of rehef 


by the internal administration of suitable chemical remedies. 
Thus the modern views respecting the nature and treatment of 
calculous disorders are completely chemical ; and modern expe- 
rience fully substantiates the important truth, that alkahes and 
acids taken into the stomach affect the chemical constitution of 
the urinary secretion. But these views do not terminate here : 
the condition of the urine is an index of what is going forwards 
in the ahmentary canal, an outward and visible sign of the 
inward and hidden movements of the stomach, bowels, and other 
parts. These again are variously modified by the nature and 
quality of our food and drink, by the operation of our remedies, 
and by those obscure and mysterious, but incontestable influences 
of other parts, which are usually denominated sympathies. Thus, 
as the successive undulations of water spread wider and wider 
as they recede from the point first agitated, our chemical exami- 
nation of a single excretion, by virtue of the mutual influences 
which bind together all parts of our system, expands at last to 
considerations embracing the whole economy. 

For the theory of diabetes we are principally indebted to 
chemistry ; and we ought not to omit acknowledging the debt, 
because its amount has not been increased by the suggestion of 
an adequate remedy. 

With these strong facts before our eyes, and Avith the know- 
ledge that nature, however sportively various in unessential 
details, is generally uniform in the leading principles of the means 
by which she accomplishes similar purposes, may we not reason- 
ably expect that the action of many remedies will be traced here- 
after to chemical influence ? May we not hope that that dark 
corner of our science, the modus operandi of its remedial ad- 
ministrations, will receive light from this quarter? 

It is, however, in most cases, the result, and not the operation 
itself, that we learn from chemistry. By comparing the blood 
and the urine, we estimate the oflSce of the kidney ; but we know 
just as little as we did before of that wonderful and mysterious 
process, by which the capillaries of the gland transform blood 
into urine ; and when we see the capillaries of other parts con- 
\^rt this same blood into twenty other fluids or solids, we feel 
stiU more forcibly the striking contrast between these and the 
operations commonly called chemical, and the insufficiency of 
explanations grounded merely on the analogies of the latter 
changes. If a gland, a membrane, a muscle, or a bone, in their 
operations of secretion and nutrition, be chemical instruments. 


their analogy to those employed in our laboratories is so remote, 
as to be hardly perceptible. 

Of the attempt at explaining the sentient and contractile opera- 
tions of the nerves and muscles by chemical agencies, or at ro- 
solving life in general into a mere play of chemical affinities, I 
can only say that they appear to me injudicious. The ablest 
chemists, those who are most deeply versed in the operations, 
means, various applications, and extent of their science, are ex- 
tremely cautious in applying it to the explanation of vital pro- 
cesses. One of the most striking phenomena of living bodies is 
the exception which they offer to the laws of chemistry. Com- 
posed of matters extremely prone to decomposition, and sur- 
rounded by all the influences of heat, air, and moisture, which 
are very favourable to such change, they yet remain unaltered. 

Living bodies, as well as all dead ones, exhibit electrical phe- 
nomena under certain circumstances : but the contrast between 
tlie animal functions and electric operations is so obvious and 
fovcilile, that the attempts to assimilate them do not demand 
further notice. 

By the preceding observations, or by any subsequent ones, I 
would by no means discourage surgical students from the pur- 
suit of the physical sciences. I regard them, on the contrary, 
not merely as a desirable ornamental accompaniment, but as 
powerful and indispensable auxiliaries in physiological and me- 
dical researches. A close alliance between the science of living 
nature and physics and chemistry, cannot fail to be mutually 
advantageous. What we have principally to guard against, in 
our professional researches and studies, is the influence of partial 
and confined views, and of those favourite notions and specula- 
tions, which, like coloured glass, distort all things seen through 
their medium. Thus we have had a chemical sect, which could 
discern, in the beautifully varied appointments, and nice adapta- 
tions of animal structure, nothing but an assemblage of chemical 
instruments : a medico-mathematical doctrine, which explained 
all the phenomena of life by the sciences of number and magni- 
tude, by algebra, geometry, mechanics, and hydraulics ; and even 
a tribe of animists, who, finding that all the powers of inorganic 
nature had been invoked in vain, resorted to the world of spirits, 
and maintained that the soul is the only cause of life. It is 
amusing to observe the entire conviction and self-complacency, 
with which such systems are brought forward. The parable of 
Nathan the Wise is not confined in its application to matters of 


theological faith, — to the ardour with which wranghng sectaries 
dispute about their petty divisions and subdivisions of belief : 
each medical sect conceives itself in possession of the true ring ; 
yet probably they are all more or less counterfeit. 

If the seductive influence of favourite notions, and the dispro- 
portionate importance attached to particular sciences, have ope- 
rated so unfavourably on the doctrines of physiology and medi- 
cine, the remedy for the evil must be sought in more enlarged 
views and general knowledge. We cannot expect to discover 
the true relations of things, until we rise high enough to survey 
the whole field of science, to observe the connections of the 
various parts and their mutual influence. 

Besides the direct utility of the physical sciences in explaining 
many parts of the animal economy, they serve a collateral pur- 
pose, which recommends them strongly to the medical student. 
They have their foundation in experiment, as physiology and 
medicine have in obsei'vation ; the only difference being, that in 
the latter case we are obliged to take our subjects in all the com- 
plexity of their natural composition, while in the former it is in 
our power to regulate the conditions of the operation, and to 
reduce them, by successive analyses, to the greatest simplicity. 
The subsequent proceedings of physical science are governed by 
strict method, and guarded against error by the severe rules of 
inductive logic. The constant vigilance of these incorruptible 
sentinels protects the sanctuary from the incursions of extra- 
physical or metaphysical chimeras, and from the intrusion of 
immaterial agencies. Strengthened by this salutary discipline, 
and accustomed to close reasoning, the mind is well prepared 
for the study of living nature, clothed with a defensive armour, 
on which verbal and metaphysical puzzles, and the misplaced 
exertions of the imagination, will make no impression. 

Now, although certain parts of the animal economy obey the 
laws of mechanics, and others admit of illustration by the aid of 
chemistry, and thus far the living jirocesses come within the 
domain of the physical sciences, the main springs of the animal 
functions, the original moving forces, cannot be explained on 
these grounds. The powers of sensation and contraction, and 
the properties of the capillary vessels, belong peculiarly and e.x- 
clusively to living organic textures : they are eminently vital, 
and form the distinguishing character of living beings. We 
jearn them by observation, as we learn the properties of dead 
matter, and we know nothing more than the fact, that certain 


vital manifestations are connected with certain organic struc- 

* Since I delivered these Lectures, I have become acquainted with Dr. 
Brown's IrKjuiry into the Relation of Cause and Effect, third edition, 8vo. 
Edinburgh, .1818 ; a most instructive work, calculated to dispel much of the 
obscurity and confusion, by which both physical and metaphysical discussions 
have been perplexed and retarded, and to interest strongly all those who 
derive pleasure from perspicuous language and close reasoning. As it is ex- 
tremely important to possess clear notions of causation, of the relations ex- 
jjressedby the wurds cause, effect, property, quality, power, I subjoin an extract, 
in which these matters are mure satisfactorily explained than in any other 
book 1 have met with. 

" It is this mere relation of uniform antecedence, so important and so uni- 
versally believed, which ajjpears to me to constitute alt that can be philosophi- 
cally meant, in the words power or causation, to whatever objects, material 
or spiritual, the words may be applied. If events had succeeded each other 
in perfect irregularity, such terms never would have been invented ; but, when 
the successions are believed to be in regular order, the importance of this re- 
gularity to all our wishes, and plans, and actions, has of course led to the 
employment of terms significant of the most valuable distinction which we 
are physically able to make. We give the name ot cause to the object which 
we believe to be the invariable antecedent of a particular change ; we giv« 
Urn nasne oi effect reciprocally to that invariable consequent; and the rela- 
tion itself, when considered abstractedly, we denominate //ourr in the object 
that is the invariable antecedent — susceptibility in the object that exhibits, in 
its change, the invariable consequent. We say of lire, that it has the power of 
melting metals, and of metals that they are susceptible of fusion by fire, — 
that fire is the cause of the fusion, and the fusion the effect of the applicatiou 
of (ire ; but, in all this variety of words, we mean nothing more than our belief, 
that when a solid metal is subjected for a certain time to the application of a 
strong heat, it will begin afterwards to exist in that dili'erent state which is 
termed liquidity, — that, in all past time, in the same circumstances, it would 
have exhibited the same change, — and that it will continue to do so in the same 
circumstances in all future time. We speak of two appearances which raetala 
present ; one before the application of fire, and the other after it ; and a 
simple but universal relation of heat and the metallic substances, with respect 
to these two appearances, is jll that is expressed. 

" A cause, therefore, in the fullest definition which it philosophically 
admits, may be said to be, that which immediately precedes any chunge, and 
which, existing at any time in similar circumsta7ices, has been always, and will 
be always, immediately followed by a similar change. Priority in the sequence 
observed, and invariableness of antecedence in the past and future sequen- 
ces supposed, are the elements, and the only elements, combined in the notion 
of a cause. By a conversion of terms, we obtain a definition of the corre- 
lative effect ; axuX power, as I have before said, is only another word for ex- 
pressing abstractly and briefly the antecedence itself, and the invariableness 
of the relation. 

"The words property and quality admit of exactly the same definition; ex- 
pressing only a certain relation of invariable antecedence and consequence, 
in changes, that take place, on the presence of the substance to which they 
are ascribed. They are strictly synonymous with power ; or, at least, the only 
difference is, that pn-operty anil quality, as commonly used, comprehend botfi 
the 2'owers and suscejjtibilities of substance, the powers of producing changes, 
and the susceptibilities of being changed. We say equally, that it is a pro- 
perty or quality of water, to melt salt, and that it is one of its qualities or pro- 
perties to freeze or become solid, on the subtraction of a certain quantity of 
heat; but we do not commonly use the word power, in the latter of these 
cases, and say that water has the power of being frozen." — "Power, pro- 
perty, and quality, are, in the physical use of these terms, exactly synony- 
mous. Water has the power of melting salt ; — it is a property of water to melt 
salt; — it is a quality of water to melt salt : — all these varieties of expression 
signify precisely the same thing, — that, when water is poured upon salt, the 
solid will take the form of a liquid, and its particles be diffused in continued 
combination through the mass. Two parts of a sequence of physical events 
are before our mind ; the addition of water to salt, and the consequent lique- 
faction of what was before a crystalline solid. When we speak of all the 
qualities of a body, we consider it as existing in a variety of circumstances, 
and consider at the same time, all the changes that are, or may be, in these 


The only reason we have for asserting in any case that any 
property belongs to any substance, is the certainty or universality 
with which we find the substance and the property in question 
accompanying each other. Thus we say that gold is yellow, 
ductile, soluble in nitro-muriatic acid, because we have always 
found gold, when pure, to be so. We assert that living muscular 
fibres are irritable, living nervous fibres sensible, for the same 
reason. The evidence of the two propositions presents itself to 
my mind as unmarked by the faintest shade of diiference. 

Having found by experience that every thing we see has some 
cause of its existence, we are induced to ascribe the constant 
concomitance of a substance and its properties to some neces- 
sary connection between them : but, however strong the feeling 
may be, which leads us to believe in some more close bond, we 
can only trace, in this notion of necessary connection, the fact 
of certainty or universality of concurrence. Nothing more than 
this can be meant, when a necessary connection is asserted be- 
tween the properties of sensibility and irritability, and the struc- 
tures of living muscular and nervous fibres. 

This language does not explain how the thing takes place : 
it is merely a mode of stating the fact. To say that irritability 
is a property of living muscular fibres, is merely equivalent to the 
assertion, that such fibres have in all cases possessed the power 
of contraction. What then is the cause of irritability ? I do 
not know, and cannot conjecture. 

In physiology, as in the physical sciences, we quickly reach 
the boundaries of knowledge, whenever we attempt to penetrate 
the first causes of the phenomena. The most we can accom- 

cireumstanees, its immediate effects. Wlien we speak of all the qualities of 
a body, or all its properties, we mean nothing more, and we mean nothing 
less. Certain substances are conceived by us, and certain changes that take 

Slace in them, which, we believe, will be uniformly the same, as often as 
le substances of which we speak exist in circumstances that are exactly 
the same. 

" The powers, properties, or qualities of a substance, are not to be regarded, 
then, as anything superadded to the substance, or distinct from it. Tliey are 
only the substance itself, considered in relation to various changes, that take 
place, when it exists in peculiar circumstances," 

We cannot be surprised thit the author of the Physiological Lectures should 
have poured forth the full vials of his wrath on doctrines at once completely 
subverting all his airy structures of subtle fluids, mobile matters, &c. &c. 
considered as causes of vital actions, and so simple and logical, that any 
attempt at direct opposition by reasoning would be utterly hojjeless. He 
therefore boldly atfirms that "if they mean to insinuate that we have no 
knowledge of cause or cfl'ect beyond thit which results from mere observa- 
tion, they publish at the same time a libel on the human understanding, a pro- 
hibition t-o rational inquir}-, and a most severe satire on themselves."'?. 91. 
Unless the author should show, on some future occasion, what he has not 
even attempted on the present ; viz. what it is that the words cause and effect 
denote in addition to relative invariable antecedence and consequence this 
volley of hard words will only recoil on his own head. ' 

D 3 


plish is to make gradual conquests from the territories of igno- 
rance and doubt; and to leave under their dominion those objects 
only, which our reason has not reached, or is not able to reach. 
The great end of observation and experiment is to discover, 
among the various phenomena, those which are the most general. 
When these are well ascertained, they serve as principles, from 
which other facts may be deduced. The Newtonian theory of 
gravitation is a most splendid example. The only object of un- 
certainty, which then remains, is the first cause of a small num- 
ber of facts. The phenomena succeed each other, like the 
generations of men, in an order which we observe, but of which 
we can neither determine nor conceive the commencement. 
We follow the hnks of an endless chain ; and, by holding fast 
to it, we may ascend from one hnk to another; but the point 
of suspension is not within the reach of our feeble powers. 

To call life a property of organization would be unmeaning ; 
it would be nonsense. The primary or elementary animal 
structures are endued with vital properties ; their combinations 
compose the animal organs, in which, by means of the vital 
properties of the component elementary structures, the animal 
functions are carried on. The state of the animal, in which the 
continuance of these processes is evidenced by obvious external 
signs, is called life. 

Tlie striking differences between living and inorganic bodies, 
and the strong contrast of their respective properties, naturally 
excited curiosity respecting the causes of this diversity, and en- 
deavours to show the mode in which it was effected. Here we 
quit the path of observation, and wander into the regions of 
imagination and conjecture. It is the poetic ground of physio- 
logy ; but the union is unnatural, and, like other unnatural 
unions, unproductive. The fiction spoils the science, and the 
admixture of science is fatal to inspiration. The fictitious beings 
of poetry are generally interesting in themselves, and are brought 
forward to answer some useful purpose; but the genii and spirits 
of physiology are awkward and clumsy, and do nothing at last, 
which could not be accomplished just as well without them : 
they literally incumber us with their help. 

For those, who think it impossible that the living organic 
structures should have vital properties without some extrinsic 
aid ; — although they require no such assistance for the equally 
wonderful affinities of chemistry, for gravity, elasticity, or the 
other properties of matter, a great variety of explanations, suited 
to all tastes and comprehensions, has been provided. 


Some are contented with stating that the properties of life 
arise from a vital principle. This explanation has the merit of 
simplicity, whatever we may think of its profoundness : and it 
has the advantage of being transferable and equally applicable 
to any other subject. Some hold that an immaterial principle, 
and others, that a material, but invisible and very subtle agent 
is superadded to the obvious structure of the body, and enables 
it to exhibit vital phenomena. The former explanation will be 
of use to those who are conversant with, immaterial beings, and 
who understand how they are connected with and act on matter. 
But I know no description of persons likely to benefit by the 
latter. For subtle matter is still matter ; and if this fine stuff 
can possess vital properties, surely they may reside in a fabric 
which differs only in being a httle coarser. 

Mr. Hunter has a good substantial sort of living principle ; 
he seems to have had no taste for immaterial agents, or for 
subtle matters. His materia vitpe is something tangible ; he 
describes it as a substance like that of the brain, diffused all 
over the body, and entering into the composition of every part. 
He conceives even the blood to have its share.* We may smile 
at these fancies, without any disrespect to a name that we all 
revere, without any insensibility to the merits of a surgeon and 
physiologist, whose genius and labours have reflected honour on 
our profession and our country. If the father of poetry some- 
times falls asleep, a physiologist may be allowed to dream a 
little ; but they who are awake, need not shut their eyes, and 
endeavour to follow his example, need not exhibit another 
instance of the perverted taste, which led the disciples of an 
ancient philosopher to drink spinacii-juice, that they might look 
pale like their master. 

Plato made the vital principle to be an emanation of the 

anima mundi, or soul of the world ; an explanation, no doubt, 

* That the author of the Physiological Lectures should liave published two 
books, principally for the purpose of explaining, illustrating, and conlirmin^ 
Mr. Hunter's " "Theory of Life," withui.t showing us in either what that 
theory was, without a single citation or reference to identify this doctrine, 
thus boldly baptised with the name of Hunter, as the literary ofi'spring of its 
alleged parent, appears strange and suspicious. It is easily explained ; for this 
Hmtterian theory of life, which its real author so stoutly maintains to be 
not only probable and rational, but also verifiable, Is no wliert' to be found in 
the published writings of Mr. Hunter ; and does not even re-^emble the specu- 
lations on the same subject, which occur in the posthumous woi-k on the 
Blood, Lijlammation, SjC. part i. chap i. sec. 5, on the living Principle of the 
Blood. In perusing the writings of Mr. Hunter, we should always remember 
his unfortunate want ofeaily education, the difficulty he felt in conveying his 
notions clearly by words, a'nd the mutilation which his thoughts must have 
sulTered in passing though the press, both fromthecauses just mentioned, and 
from the revision and correction to which some of his writings were subjected. 


quite satisfactory to those who know what the soul of the world 
is, and how other souls emanate from it. 

The Brahmins of the East hold a similar notion : but they 
make the soul after death pass on into other bodies or into 
animals, according to its behaviour ; admitting, however, that 
those of the good are immediately re-absorbed into the Divnnity. 
Some of the Greeks adopted a distinct vital, sensitive, and 
rational principle in man. 

These are merely specimens; a few articles, as patterns, 
selected from a vast assortment. If you do not like either of 
them, there are plenty more to choose from. As these and a 
hundred other such hypothesis are all supported by equally 
good proof; which is neither more nor less, in each instance, 
than the thorough conviction of the inventor ; and, as they are 
inconsistent ^vith each other, and, therefore, mutually destruc- 
tive, we need not trouble ourselves further until their respective 
advocates can agree together in selecting some one for their 
patronage, and discarding the rest. For of these, as of the 
numerous religions in the world, only one can be true. 

What is comparative anatomy ? The expression is rather 
vague and indefinite. You naturally inquire what is compared? 
What is the object of comparison ? The structure of animals 
may be compared to that of man. To lay down the laws of the 
animal economy from facts furnished by the human subject 
only, would be like writing the natural history of our species 
from observing the inhabitants of a single town or village. 

Repeated observations and multiplied experiments on the 
various tribes of animated nature have cleared up many obscure 
and doubtfid phenomena in the economy of man : a continua- 
tion of this method will place physiology on the sohd basis of 
experience, and build up science on ground hitherto occupied 
by fancy and conjecture. 

The physiologist, who is conversant with natural history in 
general, is fortified against uncertain opinions, and the showy 
but flimsy textures of verbal sophistry. An hypothesis, which 
to others appears perfectly adequate to the object in view, is not 
convincing to him. He rises above the particular object to 
which it is accommodated, in order to appreciate its value ; as 
we ascend an eminence to gain a commanding view of a dis* 
trict, to distinguish its features, to ascertain the number and 
bearings of its parts, and their relations to the surrounding 



There are three points of view, in which comparative anatomy 
has an important bearing on human physiology. 

In the infancy of science, physiology, such as it was, owed its 
origin to zootomy, which was practised by physicians and natu- 
ralists eighteen centuries before human dissections began. Tha 
Anatomia Partium Corporis humani of Mondini, written in the 
beginning of the fourteenth century, was the first compendium 
of.human anatomy composed from actual dissection. It is easy 
to show that even the osteology of Galen was not drawn from 
the human skeleton : and many parts of the body still bear 
names derived from animals, which names are in some instances 
not correctly applicable to the human structure ; for example, 
the epithets right and left as applied to the cavities of the heart 

Although human anatomy, after its first scientific development 
by Berengar of Carpi, was so quickly brought to a high 
pitch of perfection by the great triumvirate, Vesalius, Fal- 
LOPius, and Eustachius, yet the most important discoveries, 
those of greatest weight in physiology, considered as the basis 
of medicine, were made in animals. No period has been so 
fruitful in these discoveries, nor so distinguished in the literary 
history of our science, as the seventeenth century, in which the 
anatomy of brutes was most zealously cultivated, and most of 
the great anatomical facts were found out, which, by unveiling 
the hidden springs and movements of the animal machine, have 
furnished the principles, on which rational pathology and prac- 
tical medicine have been established. 

These con>parative researches render the most important ser- 
vice by affording a criterion in doubtful cases for determining 
the uses of parts ; which, as the main object of this fundamental 
medical science, has been well chosen by Galen for the title of 
his classical work on physiology. Hence Haller observes 
that the situation, figure, and size of parts ought to be learned 
from man ; their uses and motions must be drawn from animals. 

I shall adduce a few particulars for the purpose of exemplifying 
the preceding remarks. 

A serpent swallows an animal larger than itself, which fills its 
oesophagus, as well as stomach, and of which the digestion 
occupies several days or even "weeks. We open the reptile 
during this process, and find that part of the animal which 
remained in the oesophagus, sound and natviral, while the por- 
tion which had descended into the stomach, though still retain- 
ing its figvire, is semi-liquefied, reduced into so soft a state, as to 
break down under the slightest pressure. How effectually does 


this simple fact refute the notions of digestion being mechanical 
trituration; or solution by heat (for the animal is cold-blooded); 
or the effect of fermentation, or putrefaction, or coction ! 

The slow and languid motion of the blood in cold-blooded 
animals, has enabled us to demonstrate in them the circulation, 
which in man can only be proved by argument. 

Physiologists have been much perplexed to find out a common 
centre in the nervous system, in which all sensations may meet, 
and from which all acts of volition may emanate ; a central 
apartment for the superintendent of the human panopticon ; or. 
in its imposing Latin name, a sensorium commune. That there 
must be such a point they are well convinced, having satisfied 
themselves that the human mind is simple and indivisible, and 
therefore capable of dwelling only in one place. The pineal 
gland, the corpus caUosum, the pons Varolii, and other parts, 
have been successively suggested. Now, there are many orders 
of animals with sensation and volition, who have none of these 
parts. And this assumed unity of the sentient principle becomes 
very doubtful, when we see other animals, possessed of nervous 
systems, which, after being cut in two, form again two perfect 
animals. Is the immaterial principle divided by the knife, as 
well as the body ? 

The heart has been regarded by many physiologists as the 
prime mover in the animal machine ; — the origin of vital motion 
in the embryo, the chief agent in forming and maintaining the 
fabric, and the main-spring for keeping the whole machinery in 
action. There are whole classes of living beings, and some of 
complicated structure, which have no heart. 

Some have regarded the spleen as a spunge ; soaking up the 
blood when the stomach is empty, and allowing it to be squeezed 
out again by the pressure of this bag when distended. In many 
animals the spleen is neither cellular, nor so situated as to be 
compressible by the stomach. This is the case, generally speak- 
ing, with birds and reptiles. 

The office of conveying away fluids from the stomach has 
been assigned to it, making it a kind of waste-pipe to prevent 
the liquid contents of the digestive cistern from rising above a 
certain level. But it exists in reptiles and fishes, where neither 
the figure of the stomach, nor the known habits of the animals, 
m respect to food and digestion, admit of this explanation. In 
the camel, which retains the water in its stomach, and in the 
horse, where it passes very rapidly into the caecum, the spleen 
is as large as in other animals. In beasts of prey, which hardly 


drink at all, it is as large and cellular as in the herbivorous 
ruminant animals. Its size and its cells are particularly con- 
spicuous in the latter : yet the fluids which they swallow, go 
into the paunch, and not into the true digestive stomach. 

Although arguments from analogy are of great service in 
physiology, and other departments of natural history, although 
they throw light on obscure points, and give an interest to many 
discussions, their employment requires caution, and they should 
rather be resorted to for illustration than be relied on for direct 
proof. Organs corresponding in situation and name are not 
always constructed alike ; hence a part is sometimes employed 
in one class of animals for a different purpose from that which 
the instrument of the same name and of analogous position in 
the body executes in another. The gizzards of the gallinae have 
a prodigious triturating power ; and those, who first ascertained 
by experiment the extent of their power, were disposed to infer 
that digestion is effected in man by mechanical attrition. Now, 
the gizzard, although the corresponding part to our stomach, is 
in structure and action the instrument of mastication ; and, as 
birds have no teeth, it is the only instrument for dividing the 
hard grain on which they feed. Further inquiry shows, that 
even in this stomach, which is covered by a thick insensible 
cuticle, capable of bearing tlie friction of grain and siliceous 
pebbles, digestion is really effected, as in the stomach of man, 
by solution; the solvent juice being secreted by the large col- 
lection of glands at the cardiac end of the oesophagu.-?, and having 
an operation similar to that of the gastric fluid of quadrupeds. 

It has been argued, that the arteries of the mammalia must 
have a contractile power, because, in some worms Avithout a 
heart, these vessels carry on the ch-culation alone. The whole 
economy is too different in the two instances to admit of infe- 
rences from analogy ; the circulating apparatus, in particular, is 
formed on plans altogether different in the two cases ; and the 
structure and actions of the vessels of worms, are, in fact, very 
little known. 

Because the vesiculse seminales in some animals do not com- 
municate with the vasa deferentia, and therefore cannot receive 
the fluid secreted in the testicles, it has been inferred that they 
do not serve the purpose of reservoirs for the seminal secretion 
in man, where, however, they have so free a communication with 
the vasa deferentia, that any fluids pass into and even distend 
the former, before they go on into the urethra. The organic 
arrangement is different in the two instances ; and this diflerence 


leads us to expect a modification in the function, instead of 
authorising us to infer that the same office is executed in exactly 
the same manner in both cases. If we met with animals, in 
whom the cystic duct opened into the small intestines separately 
from the hepatic, shall we therefore infer that the human gall- 
bladder is not a receptacle for the hepatic bile ? 

Again, animals may be compared to each other. Each organ 
must be examined in all the gradations of living beings ; its 
modifications compared and surveyed in relation to the varieties 
of other parts, before a just notion of its functions can be formed. 
This kind of examination of the animal kingdom, leads to what 
may be called general anatomy, the basis of general physiology ; 
the objects of which are to determine the organization, and un- 
fold the vital laws of the whole system of living beings. 

In the physical sciences we have the power of insulating the 
various objects of our research ; of analysing them into their 
component elements, of subtracting these successively, and thus 
determining beforehand all the conditions of the problem we may 
be studying. It would be desirable to employ the same proceed- 
ing in natural history ; and it is resorted to, when the objects 
are sufficiently simple. But they are for the most part too com- 
plicated, and connected too closely by mutual influences. We 
cannot analyse an animal of the higher orders, and observe the 
simple result of each organ by itself; for, if we destroy one part, 
the motion of the whole machine is stopped. The phenomena 
come before us under conditions not regulated by our own choice; 
and in a state of complication requiring close attention and care- 
ful discrimination to search out and determine the precise share 
of each component part. 

In this difficulty, comparative observations afford some assist- 
ance. The animals of inferior classes are so many subjects of ex- 
periment ready prepared for us; where any organ maybe observed 
under every variety of simplicity and complication in its own 
structure : of existence alone, or in combination \vith others. 


Jfature of Life ; — Methodical Arrangement of living Beings ; Species, Varieties, 
Genera, Orders, Sjc. — Progressive Simplification of Organization, and of Funo- 
tions. — Intellectual Funciions of the Brain, in the natural and disordered State, 
explained on the same Principles as the Offices of other Organs. 

The notion of life is too complicated, embraces too many parti- 
culars, to admit of a short definition. It varies in the difllerent 


kinds of animals, as tlieir structure and functions vary ; so that 
a description drawn from one would not be applicable to others 
differently situated in the animal series. If we include in the 
description those circumstances only, which are common to the 
whole animal kingdom, we must direct our view to beings of 
the most simple structure, where the phenomenon is reduced to 
its essential features, and these are not obscured or confused by 
accessary circumstances. 

The distinguishing characters of living beings will be found 
in their texture or organization ; in their component elements ; 
in their form ; in their pecuhar manifestations or phenomena j 
and in the limits, that is, in the origin and termination of their 
vital existence. 

Their bodyiscomposedof solids and fluids; the former arranged 
in fibres and laminae, so as to intercept spaces, which are occupied 
by the latter. The solids give the form to the body, and are con- 
tractile. The fluids are generally in motion. 

The component elements, of which nitrogen is a principal one, 
united in numbers of three, four, or more, easily pass into new 
combinations; and are, for the most part, readily convertible 
into fluid or gas. 

Such a kind of composition, and such an arrangement of the 
constituent parts, is called organization ; and, as the vital pheno- 
mena are only such motions as are consistent with these material 
arrangements, life, so far as our experience goes (and we have 
no other guide in these matters), is necessarily connected \nth 
organization. Life presupposes organization, as tlie movements 
of a watch presuppose the wheels, levers, and other mechanism 
of the instrument. 

The organization assumes certain definite forms in each kind 
of animals ; not merely in the external arrangement of the whole, 
but in each part, and in all the details of each. On this depends 
the kind of motion which each part can exercise ; the share 
which it is capable of contributing to the general vital move- 
ment ; which latter, or, in short, life, is the result of the mutual 
actions and re-actions of all parts. 

Living bodies exhibit a constant internal motion, in which we 
observe an uninterrupted admission and assimilation of new, and 
a correspondent separation and expulsion of old particles. The 
form remains the same, the component particles are continually 
changing. While this motion lasts, the body is said to be aUve ; 
when it has irrecoverably ceased, to be dead. The organic struc- 


ture then yields to the chemical affinities of the surrounding 
agents, and is speedily destroyed. 

All living heings have, in the first place, formed part of a body 
like their own ; have been attached to a parent before the period 
of their independent existence. The new animal, while thus 
connected, is called a germ : its separation constitutes generation 
or birth. After this it increases in size according to certain fixed 
laws for each species and each part. 

The duration of existence is limited in all animals : after a longer 
or shorter period the vital movements are arrested, and their 
cessation or death seems to occur as a necessary consequence 
of life. 

Thus, then, absoqition, assimilation, exhalation, generation, 
and growth, are functions common to all living beings ; birth 
and death the universal limits of their existence ; a reticular con- 
tractile tissue, with fluids in its interstices, the general essence 
of their structure ; substances easily convertible into the state 
of liquid or gas, and combinations readily changing, the basis of 
their chemical composition. Fixed forms, perpetuated by genera- 
tion, distinguish their species, determine the combination of 
secondary functions peculiar to each, and assign to them their 
respective situations in the system of the imiverse. 

After forming this general notion of living beings, we proceed 
to examine the animal kingdom in detail. The first glance dis- 
covers to us an infinite variety of forms ; diversities so numerous, 
that the attempt to observe and register the whole seems almost 
hopeless. We find, however, that these forms, at first view so 
infinitely various, admit of being classed together, of being 
formed into groups, each of which is distinguished by certain 
essential characters. In the latter all the animals comprehended 
in each group agree ; while they differ from each other in parti- 
culars of minor importance. 

I have already mentioned that a fixed eternal form belongs to 
each animal, and that it is continued by generation. Certain 
forms, the same as those existing in the world at the present 
moment, have existed from time immemorial. Such, at least, 
is the result of the separate and combined proofs furnished by 
our own observation and experience respecting the laws of the 
animal kingdom, by the voice of tradition and of histor}^ by the 
remains of antiquity, and by every kind of collateral evidence. 

All the animals belonging to one of these forms constitute 
what zoologists call a species. This resemblance must not be 


understood in a rigorous sense ; for every being has its indivi- 
dual characters of size, figure, colour, proportions. In this 
sense the character of variety is stamped on all nature's works. 
She has made it a fundamental law, that no two of her produc- 
tions shall be exactly alike ; and this law is invariably obsen'ed 
through the whole creation. Each tree, each flower, each leaf, 
exemplifies it ; every animal has its individual character ; each 
human being has something distinguishing in form, pro- 
portions, countenance, gesture, voice ; in feelings, thought, and 
temper; its mental as well as corporeal physiognomy. This 
variety is the source of every thing beautiful and interesting in 
the external world ; the foundation of the whole moral fabric of 
the universe. 

I cannot help pointing out to you how strongly the voice of 
nature, so clearly expressed in this ob\'ious law, opposes all 
attempts at making mankind act or think alike. Yet the legis- 
lators and rulers of the world have persisted for centuries in 
endeavouring to reduce the opinions, the belief of their subjects, 
to certain fancied standards of perfection ; — to impress on 
human thought that dreary sameness, and dull monotony, which 
all the discipline and all the rigour of a religious sect have been 
hardly able to maintain in the outward garb of its followers. 
The mind, however, cannot be drilled, cannot be made to move 
at the word of command ; it scorns all shackles ; and rises with 
fresh energy from every new attempt to bind it down on this bed 
of Procrustes. 

All the oppression and persecution, all the bloodshed and 
miseiy, which the attempts to produce uniformity have occa- 
sioned, are, however, a less evil than the success of these mad 
efforts would be, were it possible for them to succeed in opposi- 
tion to the natural constitution of the human mind, to the 
general scheme and plain design of nature. 

The most powerful monarch of modern history, who exhibited 
the rare example of a voluntary retreat from the cares of empire, 
while still fully able to wield the sceptre, was rendered sensible 
of the extreme folly he had been guilty of in attempting to pro- 
duce uniformity of opinion among the numerous subjects of his 
extensive dominions, by finding himself imable to make even 
two watches go ahke, although every part of this simple 
mechanism was constructed, formed, and adjusted by himself. 
The dear experience and the candid confession of Charles V. 
were thrown away on his bigoted son ; who repeated on a still 


grander scale, with fresh horrors and cruelties, the bloody expe- 
riment of dragooning his subjects into uniformity, only to 
instruct the world by a still more memorable failure. 

The increasing light of reason has destroyed many of these 
remnants of ignorance and barbarism ; but much remains to be 
done, before the final accomplishment of the grand purpose, 
which, however delayed, cannot be ultimately defeated ; I mean 
the complete emancipation of the mind, the destruction of all 
creeds and articles of faith, and the establishment of full freedom 
of opinion and belief. I cannot doubt that a day will arrive, 
when the attempts at enforcing uniformity of opinion will be 
deemed as irrational, and as little desirable, as to endeavour at 
producing sameness of face and stature.* 

In the mean time, no efforts capable of accelerating a consum- 
mation so beneficial to mankind should be omitted ; and I have 
therefore attempted to show you that, on this point, the analogies 
of natural history accord with the dictates of reason and the 
invariable instructions of experience. 

Certain external circumstances, as food, climate, mode of life, 
have the power of modifying the animal organization, so as to 
make it deviate from that of the parent. But this effect termi- 
nates in the individual. Thus, a fair Englishman, if exposed to 
tlie sun, becomes dark and swarthy in Bengal ; but his oftspring, 
if from an Englishwoman, are born just as fair as he himself 
was originally : and the children, after any number of genera- 
tions, that we have yet observed, are still born equally fair, 
provided there has been no intermixture of dark blood. 

Moreover, under certain circumstances, with which we are not 
well acquainted, a more important change of organization occurs. 
A new character springs up, and is propagated by generation : 
this constitutes a variety, in the language of naturalists. The 
number and degree of these variations are confined within nar- 
row limits ; they occur chiefly in the domesticated animals, and 
have not interfered with the transmission and continuation of 
those forms which constitute species. They will be more parti- 
cularly considered hereafter. 

• These opinions do not need the support of names, or I might cite Locke, 
in whose Letters on Toleration all the great principles on wliich the freedom of 
the human mind rests are fully developed, and unanswerably established. 
This may be called speculation, theory, or other bad names : I have therefore 
pleasure in referring to the authority of a practical statesman and enlightened 
magistrate. See Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 261 — 270. Also the Appen- 
aix, No. 3, containing " An Act for establisliing religious Freedom pasieil in 
the Jhsemhly of Virginia in the heginning of the Year 178(5 ;" an admirable model, 
which has been perfectly successful, and hitherto adopted in uo other part 
of the world. 


Proceeding, then, on the criterion of definite form, transmitted 
by generation, we may define a species as a collection of all the 
individuals which have descended one from the other, or from 
common parents, and of all those which resemble them as much 
as they resemble each other.* 

Thus, our first operation, in classifying the animal kingdom, 
consists in referring individuals to their species. The next 
brings together the species most nearly resembling each other, 
and forms them into groupes called genera. This presupposes 
a thorough knowledge of the animals ; because the species 
included under each genus should resemble each other more 
closely, than the species of any other genus. For example, the 
Hon, tiger, lynx, leopard, panther, cat species, with some others, 
compose the genus felis or cat. All these have a savage charac- 
ter, as they prey on living animals. For this purpose they are 
armed with powerful teeth, with great muscular strength in the 
jaws, neck, and limbs. They all have the tongue and glans 
penis covered with sharp, horny prickles ; and they are furnished 
with curved, sharp, and cutting nails or claws, which, by a 
peculiar mechanism, are retracted, so as not to press against the 
ground when the animal is not employing them. Thus the 
species in question all agree in the leading points of organization ; 
and they agree likewise in general habits and character. The 
common cat is the only one actually domesticated ; but the lion, 
tiger, and others, are easily tamed and rendered familiar to man, 
although their size and strength make them too dangerous foi 
playfellows ; and many admit of training, so that they can be 
employed in hunting. 

The genera are again formed into groupes called orders : 
thus the cow, sheep, goat, deer, antelope, camel, lama, and other 
genera, compose the order ruminantia. All these feed on 
vegetables, and submit their food to a double process of masti- 
cation, in reference to which the stomach possesses a very pecu- 
Uar and complicated structure. This vegetable diet and this 
process of rumination are connected with certain structures of 
teeth and jaws, with particular arrangements of the organs ot 
sensation and motion, and with certain general habits, which 
produce great similarity of character throughout the whole 

The different orders are again arranged into certain classes. 
Thus all the animals which are viviparous, and in which the 
• Cuvier, Begne Animal/ t. i. Introduction, p. 19. 


young are nourished for a certain time by a secretion of the 
mother, are united into the class mammalia, or mammiferous 
animals ; so called from their mammae, or glandular organs, 
which secrete the fluid nutriment of the young. 

Lastly, the classes are assembled, on the same principle of 
resemblance, into provinces or departments of the animal 
kingdom. The mammalia, birds, fishes, and reptiles, constitute 
the DEPARTMENT vertebralia, or vertebral animals, — all of them 
possessing a vertebral column or spine, the most important 
piece of an internal articulated skeleton. 

A scheme of the animal kingdom, drawn out on these prin- 
ciples, is called a natural method or distribution, because 
the natural relations or resemblances of the objects comprised in 
it are the basis of its formation. To complete it, an accurate 
knowledge of the whole animated creation is necessary, so that 
it cannot be attempted, Avith any reasonable chance of success, 
except in an advanced state of the science. 

When such an arrangement has been properly executed ; that 
is, when the animals have been assigned to each division 
according to their resemblances of structure, so that the species of 
each genus are alike, and more like to each other, than to those 
of any other genus ; and when the same remark is true con- 
cerning the genera of each order, the orders of each class, and 
the classes of each department, it is an abridged expression of 
the whole science, the embodied result of all our knowledge con- 
cerning the structure and habits of animals. The place which 
any animal occupies, denotes all the leading circiimstances of its 
organization and economy, and expresses them in few words. 
We say, for example, that the dromedary belongs to the genus 
CAMELUs, order ruminantia, class mammalia, and depart- 
ment vertkbualia. To a person conversant with the prin- 
ciples of the arrangement, these four words convey a general 
notion of the animal, which would otherwise require a length- 
ened description 

The great utility of this scientific short-hand writing in 
abbreviating descriptions is too obvious to need illustration. It 
is absolutely indispensable when we come to delineate the 
structure and modifications of organs throughout the whole 
animal kingdom. The recent work of Cuvier, entitled, the 
" Animal Kingdom distributed according to its Organization,'" 
contains the most complete and accurate view of the subject. 

If we contemplate living beings arranged in one line, begin- 


ning with the most perfect, and continued downwards, we find 
a tolerably regular gradation from complicated to simple, 
through the whole series. At one end is man ; at the other an 
animated microscopic point, of which thousands are found in a 
single drop of fluid. Numberless gradations are placed between 
these ; so that, though the two ends of the chain are immea- 
surably remote, there is close approximation between any two 

This simplification or degradation of the organization is 
immediately perceptible on comparing together the four great 
departments* of the animal kingdom ; and it is equally so in 
each department. In the vehtebralia, we pass from man to 
the eel or serpent : in the mollusca, from the cuttle-fish to 
the barnacle or oyster; in the articulata, from the crab or 
lobster to the earth-worm or leech : in the radiata, from the 
star-fish or medusa to an animalcule of infusions. 

The same progression is observable in each class ; in the 
mammalia, for examjile, we descend from man to the whale 
or seal. 

A cursory general survey of the animal kingdom will show us 
the gradual steps by which this simplification of the organization 
is efi^ected. 

The internal articulated skeleton, on which the figure, motions, 
and other important properties of the vertebral animals, whicii 
possess it, so much depend, ends in the vertebral department. f 
In some fishes it is reduced to the state of cartilage ; and in 
others it is so soft, as hardly to afl^brd points sufficiently firm for 
support and motion. External memljers for locomotion do not 
exist in some vertebral animals, as serpents and certain fishes. 

The eyelids and lacrymal apparatus; the external ear and 
tympanum ; the organs of touch and taste ; the parts called 
cerebrum and cerebellum, do not extend beyond this depart- 
ment, nor do they exist in all the animals belonging to this 
division. The sympathetic nerve belongs only to the vertebral 

• The primary division of the animal kingdom into the four department-i 
mentioned in the text, was propiised by Cuvier in the jlnnales du Museum 
d'Uist. Nat. t. 19. The reasons on u'lich the division is grounded, and the 
principal anatomical characters of tlie four departments, may be seen in the 
liesne Anunal, Introduction, p. 67, et suiv. 

t'Unless we consider as a skelet .n the curious and complicated arrangement 
of c^jnnected bony pieces in ine asterias ; where, however, the principal parts 
of the Ijony fabric are not applied, as in the vertebral animals, to the forma- 
tion of receptacles for the nervous system. 

t If the simple nervous structures in some animals of the lower orders 
should be regarded as a sympathetic nerve, it will not materially affect our 


Tlie diaphragm ends with the mammalia ; so that the thorax 
and abdomen are not distinct in any other animals. 

The circulation is reduced in reptiles to the single state, and 
is carried on by one auricle and ventricle. 

Warmth of the blood — that is, a temperature of that fluid con- 
siderably elevated above the surrounding medium — belongs only 
to mammalia and birds ; and the red colour of the same fluid is 
confined, with one small exception, to the vertebral animals. 

Organs of voice end in reptiles .- not existing in fishes. 

Viviparous generation, with its attendant process of suckling 
the young, is confined to the mammalia : and is afterwards 
succeeded by the more simple oviparous form. 

Urinary organs end with the mammalia, many of which have 
no bladder, as birds, some fishes, and reptiles. 

The absorbent system terminates in the vertebral department; 
of which only the mammalia and I)irds possess lympiiatic glands 

The mollusca present an organization very much reduced in 
the numljer of its parts, and very imperfect in all respects, when 
compared to that of the ^-ertebral animals. They have no skeleton 
to lodge the nervous system, and for the centre of motions ; no 
separate receptacles for the various internal organs ; but the brain, 
nervous cord, and viscera, are all placed in a common cavity. 

In articulated animals the nervous system is reduced to a 
knotted cord, and the organs of sense are gradually extinguished 
The heart ceases in this department, and respiration also, as 
carried on by a particular organ. 

In the radiated de])artment the organs of circulation finally 
disappear; the heart having been before abolished. The ali- 
mentary apparatus is reduced to a simple bag with one opening. 
Finally, in the microsco])ic animalcules all special organs are at 

viewoftYie subject, so far as the simplification of the organization is con- 
cerned. Treviranus regards the knotted abdominal cord of insects and -worms 
as the vertebral ganglia of the sympathetic nerve united into a symmetrical 
^vhole. To call it a spinal marrow he thinks incorrect. " Its situation on 
the abdominal instead of the dorsal aspect of the bodj-, points out a great dif- 
ference lietween it and the spiual marrow of the four vertebral classes. The 
spiders and iihalangia, -which in other respects are allied to other insects, 
have no such cord, but, like the mollusca, single ganglia, not jilaced in a 
straight direction one beliind the other. A true spinal marrow is only found 
in mammalia, birds, reptiles, and fishes." Biologie. b. v. p. 331, 332. 

" In this view, the representation that the great sympathetic nerve belongs 
only to rcd-bioodcd animals, must be deemed incorrect. This very nerve is 
fhemost general, the uriginnl of all nerves : but it is vaiiously moditied in the 
<!iirerent classes. In worms and insects there are merely vertebral ganglia 
without the coeliac ganglia of mammalia and biids : in tlrie acephalous mol- 
lusca there are the latter without the former; in the cuttle-fish and snails 
there are single ganglia of both kinds. All these lo-wer animals have no spina] 
marrow ; fishes and reptiles have one, and also vertebral ganglia ; but the 
Cfrliac ganglia either do not exist in them, or are not so developed as in birds 
and mammalia. " Ilnd. 334-5. 


an end, and the animated being appears to our senses a spot of 
mere jelly. 

Take any organ, or system of organs, and the same progress 
from complication to simplicity will be apparent. Let us observe 
the nervous system. In man and the mammalia tjiis apparatus 
consists of a brain and spinal marrow, securely lodged in bony 
cases ; of cerebral and sjiinal nerves ; of the system of ganglia 
called the great sympathetic nerve, and of the five external senses. 
In passing through the mammalia, we observe the brain con- 
siderably reduced in size ; still farther diminished, and altered 
in its figure and component parts, in birds ; lessened again, and 
greatly simplified, in reptiles and fishes. 

In the mollusca this large apparatus is reduced to one or more 
small ganglia, with a few slender nerves ; to which are added, 
the rudiment of an ear in one instance only, and in some others 
unperfect and almost doubtful organs of vision. 

In articulated animals there is merely a straight cord with a 
few branches ; in some of the more complicated radiated animals 
a few almost doubtful nervous branches ; and below them nothing 
— neither brain, ganglia, nerves, nor organs of sense. 

But there would be little inducement to compare together the 
various animal structures, to follow any apparatus through the 
whole animal series, unless the structure were a measure and 
criterion of the function. Just in the same proportion as organiza- 
tion is reduced, life is reduced ; exactly as the organic parts are 
diminished in numberand simplified, the vital phenomena become 
fewer and more simple ; and each function ends, when the re- 
spective organ ceases. This is true throughout zoology ; there 
is no exception in behalf of any vital manifestations. 

The same kind of facts, the same reasoning, the same sort of 
evidence altogether, which show digestion to be the function of 
the alimentary canal, motion of the muscles, the various secre- 
tions of their respective glands, prove that sensation, perception, 
memory, judgment, reasoning, thought, in a word, all the mani- 
festations called mental or intellectual, are the animal functions 
of their appropriate organic apparatus, the central organ of the 
nervous system. No difficulty nor obscurity belongs to the 
latter case, which does not equally affect all the former instances ; 
no kind of evidence connects the living processes with the mate- 
rial instruments in the one, which does not apply just as clearly 
and forcibly to the other. 

Shall I be told that thought is inconsistent with matter ; that 



we cannot conceive how medullary substance can perceive, re- 
member, judge, reason ? I acknowledge that we are entirely 
ignorant how the parts of the brain accomplish these purposes — 
as we are how the liver secretes bile, how the muscles contract, 
or how any other living purpose is eflfected : — as we are how 
heavy bodies are attracted to the earth, how iron is drawn to 
the magnet, or how two salts decompose each other. Expeiience 
is in all these cases our sole, if not sufficient instructress ; and 
the constant conjunction of phenomena, as exhibited in her 
lessons, is the sole ground for affirming a necessary connection 
between them. If v/e ^o beyond this, and come to inquire the 
manner how, the mechanism by which these things are effected, 
we shall find every thing around us equally mysterious, equally 
incomprehensible : — from the stone, which falls to the earth, to 
the comet traversing the heavens : — from the thread attracted 
by amber or sealing-wax, to the revolutions of planets in their 
orbits ; — from the formation of a maggot in putrid flesh, or a 
mite in cheese, to the production of a Newton or a Franklin. 
In opposition to these views it has been contended that thought 
is not an act of the brain, but of an immaterial substance, residing 
in or connected with it. This large and curious structure, which, 
in the human subject, receives one-fifth of all the blood sent out 
from the heart, which is so pecuharly and delicately orgpjiized, 
nicely enveloped in successive membranes, and securely lodged 
in a solid bony case, is left almost without an office, being barely 
allowed to be capable of sensation. It has, indeed, the easiest 
lot in the animal economy ; it is better fed, clothed, and lodged 
than any other part, and has less to do. But its office — only one 
remove above a sinecure— is not a very honourable one : it is a 
kind of porter, intrusted to open the door, and introduce new 
comers to the master of the house, who takes on himself the 
entire charge of receiving, entertaining, and employing them. 

Let us survey the natural history of the human mind ; — its 
rise, progress, various fates, and decay ; — and then judge whether , 
these accord best with the hypothesis of an immaterial agent, or 
with the plain dictates of common sense, and the analogy of 
every other organ and function throughout the boundless extent 
of living beings. 

You must bring to this physiological question a sincere and 
earnest love of truth ; dismissing from your minds all the pre- 
judices and alarms which have been so industriously connected 
with it. If you enter on the inquiry in the spirit of the bigot 


and partisan, suffering a cloud of fears and hopes, desires and 
aversions, to hang round your understandings, you will never 
discern objects clearly ; their colours, dimensions, will be con- 
fused, distorted, and obscured by the intellectual mist. Our 
business is to inquire what is true ; not what is the finest theory ; 
not what will supply the best topics of pretty composition and 
eloquent declamation, addressed to the prejudices, the passions, 
and the ignorance of our hearers. We need not fear the result 
of investigation : truth is like a native rustic beauty, most lovely 
when unadorned, and seen in the open light of day : your fine 
hypothesis and specious theories are like the unfortunate females 
who supply the want or the loss of native charms, and repair 
the breaches of age or disease by paint, finery, and decorations, 
which can only be exhibited in the glaring lights, the artificial 
atmosphere, and the unnatural scenery of the theatre or saloon. 
Whenever it is thoroughly discussed, truth will not fail to come, 
like tried gold from the fire. Like Ajax, it requires nothing 
but day-light and fair play. 

Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual antidotes of 
error. Give them full scope, and they will uphold the truth by 
bringing false opinions and all the spurious offspring of ignorance, 
prejudice, and self-interest, before their severe tribunal, and 
subjecting them to the test of close investigation. Error alone 
needs artificial support : truth can stand by itself. 

Sir EvERARD FIoME, with the assistance of Mr. Bauer and 
his microscope, has shown us a man eight days old from the 
time of conception ; about as broad, and a httle longer than a 
pin's head. He satisfied himself that the brain of this homun- 
culus was discernible. Could the immaterial mind have been 
connected with it at this time ; or was the tenement too small 
even for so etherial a lodger ? At the full period of utero-gesta- 
tion it is still difficult to trace any vestiges of mind, and the be- 
lievers in its separate existence have left us quite in the dark on 
the precise time at which the spiritual guest arrives in his cor- 
poreal dwelling, the interesting and important moment of amal- 
gamation or combination of the earthly dust and the ethereal 
essence. The Roman Catholic church has cut the knot, which 
no one else could untie, and has decided that the little mortal, 
on its passage into this world of trouble, has a soul to be saved ; 
it accordingly directs and authorizes midwives, in cases of diffi- 
cult labour, where the death of the infant is apprehended, to 
baptise it by means of a syringe introduced into the vagina, and 
thus to save it from perdition. e 2 


They, whose scruples are not quite set at rest by the above- 
mentioned decision of the church, nor by being told that the 
mind has not yet taken up its quarters in the brain, endeavour 
to account for the entire absence of mental phenomena at the 
time of birth by the senses and brain not ha\ang been yet called 
into action by the impressions of external objects. 

These organs begin to be exercised as soon as the child is 
born ; and a faint glimmering of mind is dimly perceived in the 
course of the first months of existence ; but it is as weak and 
infantile as the body. 

As the senses acquire their powers, and the cerebral jelly 
becomes firmer, the mind gradually strengthens ; slowly advances, 
mth the body, through childhood to puberty, and becomes adult 
when the development of the frame is complete : it is, moreover, 
male or female, according to the sex of the body. In the perfect 
period of organization, the mind is seen in the plenitude of its 
powers ; but this state of full A-igour is short in duration both 
for the intellect and the corporeal fabric. The wear and tear of 
the latter is evidenced in its mental movements ; with the decline 
of organization the mind decays : it becomes decrepit with the 
body ; and both are at the same time extinguished by death. 

What do we infer from this succession of phenomena ? — The 
existence and action of a principle entirely distinct from body ? or 
a close analogy to the history of all other organs and functions ? 
The number and kind of the intellectual phenomena in dif- 
ferent animals correspond closely to the degree of development 
of the brain. The mind of the Negro and Hottentot, of the 
Calmuck and the Carib, is inferior to that of the European ; and 
their organization is also less perfect. The large cranium and 
high forehead of the orang-outang lift him above his brother 
monkeys ; but the development of his cerebral hemispheres and 
his mental manifestations are both equally below those of the 
negro The gradation of organization and of mind passes 
through the monkey, dog, elephant, horse, to other quadrupeds ; 
thence to birds, reptiles, and fishes ; and so on to the lowest 
links of the animal chain. 

In ascending these steps of one ladder, following in regular 
succession at equal intervals, where shall we find the boundary 
of unassisted organization ? where place the beginning of the 
immaterial adjunct ? In that view, which assimilates the func- 
tions of the brain to those of other organic parts, this case has 
no difficulty. As the structure of the brain is more exquisite 


perfect, and complex, its functions ought to be proportionally 
so. It is no slight proof of the doctrine now enforced, that the 
fact is actually thus ; that the mental powers of brutes, as far as 
we can see, are proportional to their orginization. 

We cannot deny to animals all participation in rational endow- 
ments, without shutting our eyes to the most obvious facts ; — to 
indications of reasoning, which the unprejudiced observation of 
mankind has not failed to recognise and appreciate. Without 
adverting to the well-known instances of comparison, judgment, 
and sagacity, in the elephant, the dog, and many other animals, 
let us read the character drawn by Humboldt of the South 
American mules. 

*' When the mules feel themselves in danger, they stop, turn- 
ing their heads to the right and to the left : the motion of their 
ears seems to indicate that they reflect on the decision they 
ought to take. Their resolution is slow, but always just, if it be 
free ; that is to say, if it be not crossed nor hastened by the 
imprudence of the traveller. It is on the frightful roads of the 
Andes, during journeys of six or seven months across the moun- 
tains furrowed by torrents, that the intelligence of horses and 
beasts of burden displays itself in an astonishing manner. Thus 
the mountaineers are heard to say, ' I will not give you the mule 
whose step is the easiest, but him who reasons best.' "* 

If the intellectual phenomena of man require an immaterial 
principle superadded to the brain, we must equally concede it to 
those more rational animals, which exhibit manifestations differ- 
ing from some of the human only in degree. If we grant it to 
these, we cannot refuse it to the next in order, and so on in 
succession to the whole series ; to the oyster, the sea anemone, 
the polype, the microscopic animalcules. Is any one prepared 
to admit the existence of immaterial principles in all these cases ? 
if not, he must equally reject it in man. 

It is admitted that an idiot with a malformed brain has no 
mind ; that the sagacious dog and half-reasonable elephant do 
not require any thing superadded to their brains ; it is allowed 
that a dog or elephant excels inferior animals in conseqvience of 
possessing a more perfect cerebral structure ; it is strongly sus- 
pected that a Newton or a Shakspeare excels other mortals 
only by a more ample development of the anterior cerebral lobes, 
by having an extra inch of brain in the right place : yet the 
immaterialists will not concede the obvious corollary of all 
these admissions ; viz., that the mind of man is merely that more 
* Personal Narrative, v. iii. 


perfect exhibition of mental phenomena, which the more com- 
plete development of the brain would lead us to expect, and still 
perplex us with the gratuitous difficulty of their immaterial 
hypothesis. Thought, it is positively and dogmatically asserted, 
cannot be an act of matter. Yet no feelings, no thought, no 
intellectual operation has ever been seen except in conjunction 
with a brain ; and living matter is acknowledged by most per- 
sons to be capable of what makes the nearest possible approach 
to thinking. The strongest advocate for immaterialism seeks 
no further than the body for his explanation of all the vital pro- 
cesses, of muscular contraction, nutrition, secretion, &c.; — 
operations quite as different from any affection of inorganic sub- 
stance, as reasoning and thought. He will even allow the brain 
to be capable of sensation. 

Who knows the capabilities of matter so perfectly, as to l>e 
able to say that it can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel, but cannot 
])ossibly reflect, imagine, judge ? Who has appreciated them so 
exactly, as to be able to decide that it can execute the mental 
functions of an elephant, a dog, or an orang-outang, but cannot 
perform those of a Negro or a Hottentot ? 

To say that a thing of merely negative properties, that is, an 
immaterial substance, which is neither evidenced by any direct 
testimony, nor by any indirect proof from its effects, does exist, 
and can think, is qviite consistent in those who deny thought to 
animal structures, where we see it going on every day. 

If the mental processes be not the function of the brain, what 
is its office ? In animals, which possess only a small part of the 
human cerebral structure, sensation exists, and in many cases is 
more acute than in man. What employment shall we find for 
all that man possesses over and above this portion ; — for the 
large and prodigiously developed human hemispheres ? Are we 
to believe that these serve only to round the figure of the organ, 
or to fill the cranium ? 

It is necessary for you to form clear opinions on this subject, 
as it has immediate reference to an important branch of patho- 
logy. They who coasider the mental operations as acts of an 
immaterial being, and thus disconnect the sound state of the 
mind from organization, act very consistently in disjoining 
insanity also from the corporeal structure, and in representing 
it as a disease, not of the brain, but of the mind. Thus we come 
to disease of an immaterial being, for which, suitably enough, 
moral treatment has been recommended. 



I firmly believe, on the contrary, that the various forms of 
insanity, that all the affections comprehended under the general 
term of mental derangement, are only evidences of cerebral 
affections : — disordered manifestations of those organs, whose 
healthy action produces the phenomena called mental! — in 
short, symptoms of diseased brain. 

These symptoms have the same relation to the brain, as 
vomiting, indigestion, heartburn, to the stomach; cough, asthma, 
to the lungs ; or any other deranged functions to their corres- 
ponding organs. 

If the bihary secretion be increased, diminished, suspended, 
or altered, we have no hesitation in referring to changes in the 
condition of the liver, as the immediate cause of these pheno 
mena. We explain the state of respiration, whether slow, hvir- 
ried, impeded by cough, spasm, &c. by the various conditions of 
the lungs, and other parts concerned in breathing. These expla- 
nations are deemed perfectly satisfactory. 

What should we think of a person, who told us that the 
organs have nothing to do with the business ; that colei'a, jaun- 
dice, hepatitis, are diseases of an immaterial hepatic being ; that 
asthma, cough, consumption, are affections of a subtle pul- 
monary matter, or that in both cases the disorder is not in 
bodily organs, but in a vital principle ? If such a statement 
would be deemed too absurd for any serious comment in the 
derangements of the liver, lungs, and other organic parts, how 
can it be received in the brain ? 

The very persons who use this language of diseases of the 
mind, speak and reason correctly respecting the other affections 
of the brain. When it is compressed by a piece of bone, or by 
effused blood or serum, and when all intellectual phenomena 
are more or less completely suspended, they do not say that the 
mind is squeezed, that the immaterial principle suffers pressure. 
For the ravings of delirium and frenzy, the excitation and sub- 
sequent stupor of intoxication, they find an adequate explanation 
in the state of the cerebral circulation, without fancying that 
the mind is delirious, mad, or drunk. 

In these cases the seat of the disease, the cause of the symp- 
toms, is too obvious to escape notice. In many forms of insa- 
nity the affection of the cerebral organization is less strongly 
marked, slower in its progress, but generally very recognisable, 
and abundantly sufficient to explain the diseased manifestations ; 
— to afford a material organic cause for the phenomena — for the 


augmented or diminished energy, or the altered nature of the 
various feelings and intellectual faculties. 

I have examined after death the heads of many insane persons, 
and have hardly seen a single brain, which did not exhibit 
obvious marks of disease. In recent cases, loaded vessels, in- 
creased serous secretions : in all instances of longer duration, 
unequivocal signs of present or past increased action ; — blood- 
vessels apparently more numerous, membranes thickened and 
opaque, depositions of coagulable lymph forming adhesions or 
adventitious membranes, watery effusions, even abscesses. Add 
to this, that the insane often become paralytic, or are suddenly 
cut off by apoplexy. 

Sometimes, indeed, the mental phenomena are disturbed, 
wthout any visible deviation from the healthy structure of the 
brain ; as digestion or biliary secretion may be impaired or 
altered without any recognisable change of structure in the 
stomach or Uver. The brain, like other parts of this compli- 
cated machine, may be diseased sympathetically ; and we see it 

Tlius we find the brain, like other parts, subject to what is 
called functional disorder ; but, although we cannot actually 
demonstrate the fact, we no more doubt that the material cause 
of the symptoms or external signs of disease is in this organ, 
than we do that impaired biliary secretion has its source in the 
liver, or faulty digestion in the stomach. The brain does not 
often come under the insj^ection of the anatomist, in such cases 
of functional disorder ; and I am convinced, from my own 
experience, that very few heads of persons dying deranged will 
be examined after death, %vithout showing diseased structure or 
evident signs of increased vascular activity. 

The effect of medical treatment completely corroborates these 
views. Indeed tliey, who talk of and believe in diseases of the 
mind, are too wise to put their trust in mental remedies. Argu- 
ments, syllogisms, discourses, sermons, have never yet restored 
any patient ; the moral jiharmacopceia is quite inefficient, and 
no real benefit can be conferred without vigorous medical treat- 
ment, which is as efficacious in these affections, as in the disease 
of any other organs. 

In thus drawng your attention to the physiology of the brain, 
I have been influenced, not merely by the intrinsic interest and 
importance of the subject, but by a wish to exempUfy the aid, 
which hiunan and comparative anatomy and physiology are 


capable of affording each other, and to show how the data fur- 
nished by both tend to illustrate pathology. I have purposely 
avoided noticing those considerations of the tendency of certain 
physiological doctrines, which have sometimes been indus- 
triously mixed up with these disquisitions. In defence of a 
weak cause, and in failure of direct arguments, appeals to the 
passions and prejudices have been indulged, attempts have been 
made to fix public odium on the supporters of this or that opi- 
nion, and direct charges of bad motives and injurious conse- 
quences have been reinforced by all the arts of misrepresentation, 
insinuation, and inuendo. 

To discover truth, and to represent it in the clearest and most 
intelligible manner, seem to me the only proper objects of 
physiological, or indeed of any other inquiries. Free discussion 
is the surest way, not only to disclose and strengthen what is 
true, but to detect and expose what is fallacious. Let us not 
then pay so bad a compliment to truth, as to use in its defence 
foul blows and unlawful weapons. Its adversaries, if it has 
any, will be dispatched soon enough without the aid of the 
stiletto and the bowl. 

The argument against the expediency of divulging an opinion, 
although it may be true, from the possibility of its being per- 
verted, has been so much hackneyed, so often employed in the 
last resort by the defenders of all established abuses and errors, 
that every one, who is conversant with controversy, rejects it 
immediately as the sure mark of a bad cause, as the last refuge 
of retreating error. 

E 3 



The foHowinj^ remarks on those parts of the natural history of our species, 
which admit of illustration from human and comparative anatomy and phy- 
siolo;^y, furmed twelve Lectures delivered after the three foregoing at the 
Royal College of Surgeons in the past summer (1818). They are here ar- 
ranged according to the natural divisions of the subject, without any refe- 
rence to the arbitrary distinctions of the particular Lectures,which are there- 
fore entirely omitted. 


Nature and Ohjpcts of the Inquiry ; and Mode of Investigation : the Subject nt- 
therto neglected, and very erroneous Notions consequently prevalent. — Sources 
of Information. — Anatomical Characters of the Monkey Tribe, and more parti~ 
eularly of the Orang-outang and Chimpanse : Specific Character of Man. 

Mirantur aliqui altitudiues montium, ingcntes ductus maris, altissimos lap- 
sus flurainum, et gyros siderum : — relincjuunt seipsos nee mirantur."— 


The natural history of man, in its most comprehensive sense, 
constitutes a subject of immense extent and of endless variety ; 
or rather includes several very important subjects, if we attempt 
to describe both the individual and the species. In a complete 
history of man, it would be necessary, in respect to the former, 
to relate the phenomena of his first production, to examine his 
anatomical structure, his bodily and intellectual functions, his 
propensities and feelings, his diseases ; and to pursue his pro- 
gress from the time of birth to the grave : in reference to the 
latter, to point out the circumstances that distinguish him from 
other animals, and to determine the precise degree and kind of 
resemblance or difference, of specific aflSnity or diversity 
between them and ourselves ; to compare or contrast with each 
other the various nations or tribes of human beings, to delineate 
the physical and moral characters of the people inhabiting the 
different portions of the globe, and to trace their progress from 
the first rudiments of civil society to the state at which they are 
now arrived. To write such a history of our species would 
demand a familiar acquaintance with nearly the whole circle of 
human knowledge, and a combination of the most opposite pur- 
suits and talents. This labour, much too extensive to be pro- 
perly executed by any individual, is divided into several 
sTibordinate branches. The anatomist and physiologist unfold 
the construction and uses of the corporeal mechanism; the 


surgeon and physician describe its diseases ; while the metaphy- 
sician and moralist employ themselves with those functions, 
which constitute the mind, and with the moral sentiments. Man 
in society, his progress in the various countries and ages of the 
world, his multiplication and extension, are the province of the 
historian and political economist. 

I design, on the present occasion, to consider man as an object 
of 7onlogy : — to describe him as a subject of the animal kingdom. 
I shall therefore first enumerate, and consider the distinctions 
between him and animals ; and shall then describe, and attempt 
to account for the j^rincipal differences between the various races 
of mankind. 

Although the questions, which now come before us in such a 
review of the subject, as I now speak of, are of very high interest 
and importance, and although the principles deri^'ed from these 
investigations throv/ a strong light on many dark points in meta- 
physics and morals, in legislation, history, antiquities, and the 
fine arts, we shall find that they have not been investigated with 
a corresponding degree of attention and perseverance. 

What climates, what degrees of heat and cold can man bear ? 
How is he able to endure all the diversified external influences 
of such various abodes ? Is he indebted for this privilege to the 
strength and flexibility of his organization, or to his mental 
functions, his reason, and the arts which he has thence derived ? 
Is he a species broadly and clearly distinguished from all others ; 
or is he specifically allied to the orang-outang and other mon- 
keys } What are his corporeal, what his mental distinctions ? 
Are the latter ditferent in kind, or only superior in degree to 
those of the higher animals ? Is there one species of men only, or 
are there many distinct ones ? VvTiat particulars of external form 
and inward structure characterize the several races r What 
relation is observed between the differences of structure and 
those of moral feeling, mental powers, capability of civilization, 
and actual progress in arts, sciences, literature, government ? 
How is man aflfected by the external influences of climate, food, 
way of life ? Are these, or any others, operating on beings ori- 
ginally alike, sufficient to account for all the diversities hitherto 
observed.; or must we suppose that several kinds of men were 
created originally, each for its own situation ? If we adopt the 
supposition of a single species, what Country did it first 
inhabit? and what was the ajipearance of the original man? 
Did he go erect, or on all fours ? was he a Patagonian, or an 
Esquimaux, a Negro, or a Georgian ? 


Such are the inquiries that claim our attention in a zoological 
survey of the human species. To suppose that it is in my 
power to furnish satisfactory replies, would be a degree of pre- 
sumption which it is hardly necessary for me to disclaim. I 
mention them only as examples ; and I take the liberty of adding 
my firm conviction, that these and similar matters will never be 
cleared up except by those who are thoroughly acquainted with 
the anatomy and physiology of our frame, with comparative ana- 
tomy, with the principles of general physiology, and the ana- 
logies derivable from the whole extent of living nature. I shall 
be contented with having called your attention to a subject, 
which falls within the province of our own pursuits ; and with 
exhibiting specimens of the mode of proceeding, and the objects 
to be kept in view. The naturalhistory of man is, indeed, yet in 
its infancy ; so that a complete view of the subject could not be 
attempted. The description and arrangement of the various 
productions of the globe have occupied numerous observers in 
aU ages of the world ; and have engaged their attention so 
exclusively, that they have had no time to think of themselves. 
Every reptile, bird, insect, plant, even every mineral has had its 
historian, and been described with minute accuracy, while the 
human subject has been comparatively neglected. In a 'volu- 
minous work, now publishing in this country, entitled General 
Zoology, or Si/stematic Natural History, manis altogether omitted 
without notice or apology. Accurate, beautiful, and expensive 
engravings have been executed of most objects in natural his- 
tory, of insects, birds, plants : splendid and costly publications 
have been devoted to small and apparently insignificant depart- 
ments of this science, yet the different races of man have hardly 
in any instance been attentively investigated, described, or com- 
pared together : no one has approximated and surveyed in 
conjunction their structure and powers : no attempt has been 
made to delineate them, I will not say on a large and compre- 
hensive, but not even on a small and contracted scale; nobody 
has ever thought it worth while to bestow on a faithful delinea- 
tion of the several varieties of man one-tenth of the labour and 
expense which have been la\nshed again and again on birds of 
paradise, pigeons, parrots, humming-birds, beetles, spiders, and 
many other such objects. Even intelligent and scientific travel- 
lers have too often thrown away on dress, arms, ornaments, 
utensils, buildings, landscapes, and obscure antiquities, the 
iitmost luxury of engraving and embellishment, neglecting 
entirely the being, without reference to whom none of these 


objects possess either value or interest. In many very expen- 
sive works one is disappointed at meeting in long succession 
with prints of costumes- — summer dresses and winter dresses, 
court and common dresses — the wearer in the mean time being 
entirely lost sight of.* The immortal historian of nature seems 
to have alluded to this strange neglect, in observing " quelqu' in- 
teret que nous ayons a nous connaitre nous memes, je ne sais si 
nous ne connaissons pas mieux tout ce qui n'est pas nous."t 
Indeed, whether we investigate the physical or the moral nature 
of man, we recognise at every step the Hmited extent of our 
knowledge, and are obliged to confess that ignorance, which a 
Rousseau and a Buffon have not been ashamed to avow : — 
" The most useful, and the least successfully cultivated of all 
human knowledge is that of man ; and the inscription X on the 
temple of Delphi contained a more important and difficult pre- 
cept than all the books of the moralists. "§ 

That the greatest ignorance has prevailed on this subject, even 
in modern times, and among men of distinguished learning and 
acuteness, is shown by the strange notion very strenuously 
asserted by Monboddo || and Rousseau, and firmly beheved 
by many, that man and the monkey, or at least the orang-outang, 
belong to the same species, and are no otherwise distinguished 
from each other, than by circumstances, which can be accounted 
for by the different physical and moral agencies, to which they 
have been exposed. The former of these writers even supposes 
that the human race once possessed tails ; and he says, " the 
orang-outangs are proved to be of our species by marks of huma- 
nity that I think are incontestable." A poor compliment to our 
species ; as any one wiU think, who may take the trouble of pay- 
ing a morning visit to the orang-outang at Exeter Change. 

Misled by his strange and fanciful notions of the unnatural 
condition of man in society, Rousseau has even applied the 

* Among the few works, in which we meet with characteristic delineations 
of the human species deserving confidence, may be mentioned. Voyages de 
C. Le Jiinn parla Moscuvie, enFerse, el mix Indes Orientals, 2 t. fol. 

Cook's Voyage towards the South Pole, and round the ff^orld, 2 v. 4to. 1777. 

Cook's Voyage to the Pacijic Ocean; 3 v. 4to. 1785: with folio Atlas, 
Both these contain numerous excellent representations of the human subject. 

Peron Voyage aux Terres Australcs, tom. 1, has the best figures of human 
heads yet published. There are numerous heads in Denon Voy. dans la 
Haute et Basse Egypte, pi. 104 — 112 : and some in the unrivalled Description 
de TEgypte; Etat moderne. A few other references will be found in the 
course of this work. 

t "Do la Nature del'Homme." Hist. A'at.\,'2. This great naturalist and 
eloquent writer must be excepted from the remarks in the text. He treats 
largely of man in the 2d and cid volumes of the Histoire Naturelle Generale et 

t ri/wOi ffeavTov. 5 Discours sur VInegalite; Preface. 

II On the Origin and Progress of Language, v. 1 : aniX^Ancient Metaphysict, 
V. 3. 


observations of travellers concerning animals to man ; and if we 
think fit to believe with him, that he knew better what they saw 
than they did themselves, we may arrive at his conclusion con- 
cerning the existence of wild men in an insulated and solitary 
state similar to that of wild beasts.* 

The completely unsupported assertions of Monboddo and 
Rousseau only show that they were equally unacquainted with 
the structure and fimctions of men and monkeys, not conversant 
with zoology and physiolog)', and therefore entirely destitute of 
the principles, on which alone a sound judgment can be formed 
concerning the natural capabilities and destiny of animals, as 
well as the laws according to which certain changes of character, 
certain departures from the original stock, may take place. 

Mankind in general, the unlearned and the unscientific, do 
not commit the gross mistake of confounding together man and 
animals : this distinction, at least, so clear and obvious to common 
observation and unprejudiced common sense, is preserved in 
their short division of the animal kingdom into man and brutes. 

Other writers, who expatiate with vast delight on what they 
call the regular gradation or chain of beings, and discover great 
wisdom of the Creator, and great beauty of the creation, in the 
circumstance, that nature makes no leaps, but has connected the 
various objects of the three kingdoms together like the steps of 
a staircase, or the links of a chain, represent man only as a more 
perfect kind of monkey ; and condemn the poor African to the 
degrading situation of a connecting link between the superior 
races of mankind and the orang-outang. Such is the view ex- 
hibited by Mr. White, in his Account of the regular Gradation 
in Man, and in different Animals and Vegetables, and from the 
former to the latter ;\ where he distinctly asserts that "the orang- 

* "Toutes ces observations siiv les varietes que mille causes peuvent pro- 
duire et ont produit en effet dans I'espece humaine, me font douter si divers 
animaux semblables aux hommes, pris par des voyageurs pour des betes sans 
beaucoup d'examen ou a cause de quelcjiies ditlerences qu'ils remarquoient 
dans la conformation exterieure, ou seulement parce que ces animaux ne 
parloient pas, ne seroient point en effet de veritahles hummes sauvages, dont 
la race disjiersf e anciennement dans les bois n'avoit eu occasion de develop- 
per aucune de ses facultes viituelles, n'avoit acquis aucun de-jre de perfection, 
et se trouvoit encore dans I'etat primitif de nature." JJb. cit. 

t Besides the subject of gi'adation from man to animals and vegetables, this 
work includes observations on tlie varieties of organization in manl^ind, 
vhich the author accounts for by the supposition of sjiecies originally distinct, 
although he has omitted to fix the number and define the characters of those 
species. I expect to show hereafter that this opinion is entirely ungrounded. 
Mr. White indulges frequently in a looseness of expression and reasoning, 
■w hich renders his meaning very obscure. When he compares Ihe JlJ'rican to 
the Eurojiemi, the statement is not very precise : bat when he brings in the 
■^sialic, as if all the human beings in that immense region were marked with 
one and the same character, the language conveys to us either no definite 
sense, or one completely wrong. 


outang has the person, the manner, and the actions of man" 
(p. 35) ; and that the Negro " seems to approach nearer to the 
brute creation than any other of the human species" (p. 42). If, 
by regular gradation, nothing more is meant than the variety of 
organization and its progressive simphfication from man through- 
out the animal kingdom, the truth is incontestable, and too 
obvious to require a quarto for its illustration or support. (Jn 
the contrary, if it be designed to assert identity of species between 
ourselves and monkeys, the position is quite imtenable. At all 
events, both the statements quoted above are more or less 

That the Negro is more like a monkey than the European, 
cannot be denied as a general observation. But why is the Negro 
always selected for this comparison ? The New Hollander, the 
Calmuck, the native American, are not superior to the African,*!, 
and are as much like monkeys. Why then is the Negro alone 
to be depressed to a level with the brute ? to fill up the break in 
Mr. White's chain between the European and the monkey ? 

I do not hesitate to assert that the notion of specific identity 
between the African and orang-outang (on which point Mr. 
White's language is not suflficiently clear to enable me to decide 
what he means) is as false philosophically, as the moral and 
political consequences, to which it would lead are shocking and 
detestable. The human species has numerous distinctive marks, 
by which, under every circumstance of deficient or imperfect 
civilization, and every variety of country and race, it is separated 
by a l)road and clearly defined interval from all other animals, 
even of those species, which from their general resemblance to 
us have been called anthropo-morphous. 

It is only of late years, and principally through the labours, 
the lectures, and the excellent writings of Blumenbach,* that 
the natural history of man has begun to receive its due share of 
attention ; and I have no hesitation in asserting, that, whether 
we regard the intrinsic importance of the questions that arise, 
and their relation to the aflSnities, migrations, and history of 
nations, or advert merely to the pleasure of the research, no 
subject will be found more woithy of minute investigation. The 

* He chose the varieties of manlvindfor the subject of his inaugural thesis; 
Goetting. 1775, 4to. ; and afterwards published it under the title De Generis 
humani Farictale naliva, 12mo. of which the third and last edition appeared 
in 1795. See also his Decades Oraniorum diversarum Gentium illustrates; 
I — 5; Goetting. 1790 — 1808; his Beytrage zur Naturgeschiclite ; 1'. u. 2. theil, 
Gott. 1790 and 1811; his Handbuc/i der Naturgeschiclite; ed. 9, 1814; and his 
Abbildungcn Nalur-histurischer Gegcnstiinde ; more particularly 1'. heft. 


example of Buffon * and Blumenbach has been followed by 
some others; asZiMMERMANN,t Meiners,! Soemmering,§ 
LuDWiG, II in Germany,'^ Hunter** and KAiMESff in 
Scotland; Smith H in America; and Dr. Prichard§§ in this 
country, whose clear statements, convincing reasoning, and verj' 
extensive information, stamp the highest value on his interesting 
work, and distinguish it very advantageously from most other 
productions on the same subject. 

LiNNEUs places man in the order priraates oi the class mam- 
malia, and has given him for companions the monkeys, lemurs, 
and bats ; of which the latter, at least, must be not a little sur- 
prised at finding themselves in such a situation and company. 
The characters of his order are, " Front teeth incisors ; the supe- 
rior, four ; parallel. Two pectoral mammae." 

The principles must be incorrect, which lead to such an 

As the monkey race approach the nearest to man, in stracture 
and actions, and their forms are so much hke the human, as to 
have procured for them the epithet anthropo-morjjJious, we must 
compare them to man, in order to find out the specific characters 
of the latter ; and we must institute this comparison particularly 
with those called orang-outangs. I shall have frequent occasion, 
in this part of the subject, to mention the latter animal ; it is 
therefore necessary to explain clearly what creature I mean to 
designate by that name ; and the more so, as two distinct species, 
and sometimes perhaps more, have been confounded under that 

* See note, p. 122. 

t Geosraphische Geschichte der Menschen, und der allgemein terhreiteten tier- 
fiissisimThieren, 3 v. 8vo. Leipsic, 1778—1783. 

t Grundriss der Geschichte der Menschhcit ; Lemgo, 1793. A short but in- 
terestinp; work ; particularly valuable from the very extensive erudition of the 
author; and from a copious catalogue of books, accompanied with short no- 
tices of their character. 

Gotlingisches historisches Magazin, 11 v. His work entitled Verschiedenheit 
der Menschen-naturen, which Thave not seen, contains, I believe, the detached 
essays and treatises of the Historisches Magazin collected together and arranged. 

i 'Uier die kSrpcrliche Verschiedenheit des Negers vom Europaer, 8vo. Frank- 
fort, 1785. 

II Grundriss der J^'aturgeschichte der Menschen Species ; Leipsic, 1796. 

IT Some other books have been published in Germany, with which I am not 
acquainted; viz., J. R. Forster and Klugel Mbildungen merlacurdiger Fiilker 
und Tliiere; Halle, 1793, 8vo. 

G. Forster und Sprengel Beytras,e zur Volker xmd L'dnderkunde. 

** Dissi inaug. de HomiJium yarietatihus ; Edinb. 1775; and in Webster's 

Tt Sketches of the History of Man; 2 v. 8vo. Edinburgh. 

t% Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Hu7nan 
Species; Philadelphia; reprinted London, 1789. 

}} Disp. inaug. de Hominum Varietatibus ; Edin. 1808: greatlj- enlai'ged, 
and translated into English under the title, Bcsearches on the Physical History 
of Man; 8vo. 1813. 


common appellation. This is tlie case even with Linn e us, 
BuFFON, and Erxleben; m whom the mistake is easily 
accounted for by the rareness of the animals, both of which are 
very seldom seen in Europe. Blumenbach has pointed out 
and rectified the error, both in his Manual of Natural History, 
and in his Delineations of Objects in Natural History. 

All the simife, and the lemurs likewise, are quadrmnanous ; 
that is, they possess opposalile members, or thumbs on the hind, 
as well as on the fore limbs ; they have perfect cla\'icles ; perfect 
pronation and supination of the fore-arm ; long and flexible 
fingers and toes : hence they have the power of imitating many 
human actions ; hence, too, they are excellent climbers. On the 
other hand, they cannot easily stand or walk upright, because 
the foot rests on its outer edge, the heel does not touch the 
ground, and the narrowness of the pelvis renders the trunk un- 
steady. Consequently, they are neither biped, nor strictly 
quadruped. They resemble man in the general form of the 
cranium, and in the configuration of the brain ; of which, how- 
ever, the cerebral hemisjjheres are greatly reduced. Yhe face is 
turned forwards ; the optic axes are parallel ; the orbits com- 
plete, and separate from the temporal fosse. The nose is flat 
(hence the name simia, from simus, flat-nosed), and has a single 
triangidar os nasi. 

Tn this QUADRUMANOus order there is a constantly increasing 
deAiation from the human structure, by increased elongation of 
the muzzle, and advances to the quadruped attitude and pro- 
gression. They have the same number and kinds of teeth as 
man ; and an alimentary canal very much like the human. Their 
pectoral mammae and loose jjenis are other approximations. 

In so large a family as the monkeys we shall expect to meet 
with considerable varieties of form, and to find that the human 
character is strongly expressed in some, while others exhibit 
successive degrees of approximation towards the neighbouring 

The division of orangs, which is the most strongly anthropo- 
morjihous, and includes the two simise confounded together 
under the names of orang-outang, pongo, jocko, barris, &c. and 
two others called gibbons (S. Lar, or long-armed monkey ; S. 
Leucisca, or wouwou), is characterized by the slight prominence 
of the jaws, so that they have a large facial angle ; by the want 
of tail ; by possessing an os hyoides, liver, and coecum hke the 
human : the latter part as an appendix vermiformis as in man. 
They have very long arms. 


The simia satyrus * is the true animal so much celebrated 
under the name of the orang-outang. f It is principally, if not 
solely, found on the great island of Borneo, whence it has been 
sometimes brought to us through Java. It is about three feet 
in height ; as the specimens conveyed hither have been young, 
we may suppose that it would reach to between three and four 
feet when grown up ; but none have been seen in Europe ex- 
ceeding three feet. The body is covered with strong reddish 
brown hair. The front of the head has a very human character, 
the forehead being large and high, and the facial angle conse- 
quently considerable : indeed, no animal approaches to man so 
nearly as this, in the form of the head and volume of the brain. 
The face is bluish or lead-coloured : there are no cheek pouches 
nor collosities of the buttocks. Two large membranous bags 
cover the front of the neck under the skin, and open into the 
larynx between the os hyoides and thyroid cartilage : a structure 
which spoils him from speaking. The thumb of the hind hand 
has no nail.| It is a mild and gentle animal, with some actions 
similar to ours, and some appearances of human feeling. It 
soon becomes attached, and imitates very quickly whatever we 
do. A state of captivity, in climates and with diet unfriendly to 
its nature, is not well calculated to develop its feelings and powers, 
or to lead to a just estimate of its faculties and intelligence. 

The reports of travellers concerning its immense strength and 

ferocity, its stature represented as equal or superior to that of 

man, its carrying off women and so forth, do not accord either 

with the size or the dispositions of the creature as observed in 

the examples brought into Europe. They must probably be 

referred partly to exaggeration and partly to the circumstance of 

* BlumenbacVi Ablildungen n. h. Gegenstande ; No. 12; the cranium, No. 52. 
The animal his been figured by Vosmaer, from a livius specimen at the Hague, 
from which engraving that of felumenbach is copied -. by Camper (who has also 
given a detailed anatomical description of it), with his usual hdelity and accu- 
racy, from a dead specimen preserved in spirits ; CEuvres d' Uistoire Nat. &c. 
planche 1, fig. 1 : fig. 2, 3, 4, and 5, of the same plate, are representations of 
the entire and bony head ; and most excellently, in a coloured engraving, by 
Mr. Abel, who brought one with him from Batavia, now Hlive in Exeter 
Change, and has given a very interesting description of him in his Narrative 
of a Journey in the Interior of China. 

T The import of this Malay term is wild man, or man of the woods. Drang 
means, in fact, rational creature ; and is applied to man, to the monkey la 
question, and to the elephant. 

i The absence of the nail was ascertained by Camper in seven out of eight 
specimens : the eighth had a very small nail on the thumb of the ria;ht foot 
only. CEuvres, i. p. 53, et suiv. The animal is represented by Edwardi* 
Gleanings nf JVatural History, i. pi. 213, p. 6 and 7, with nails ; and it was so 
figured in the proof of an engraving submitted to the inspection of Camper by 
Allamand ; Jhldilions au t. xv. de Buflbn, p. 73, pi. 11. On examining the ani- 
mals from which both these figures were taken, it was found that they had 
no nails : and the same is the case with that of Mr. Abel. Such is the way in 
■which nature is often improved by artists who do not understand natural 
history. Camper, de I' Orang-outang, ch. i. \. 4. 


Other large simiae (particularly the pongo * of Borneo) having 
been confounded with the true orang-outang. 

The simia troglodytesf is a native of Angola and Congo, ^yhere 
it is called by the natives chimpanse. It resembles the former 
in size ; but differs from it in being covered with black hair ; in 
having a lower forehead, and large ears ; and nails on the thumbs 
of the hind hands. It is very susceptible of education, and 
quickly learns to imitate human actions. This is the animal, of 
which Tyson % has given an excellent anatomical description, 
accompanied with very good engravings. In both these simise, 
the hair of the upper and fore arm takes opposite directions ; 
that is, it slants in each part of the limb towards the elbow. 

A more minute and accurate account of the propensities, feel- 
ings, and intellectual phenomena of both these creatures, is a 
great desideratum in that important branch of comparative, 
physiology, which relates to the functions of the brain. 

The peculiar characteristics of man appear to me so very 
strong, that I not only deem him a distinct species, but also put 
him into a separate order by himself. His physical and moral 
attributes place him at a much greater distance from all other 
orders of mammalia, than those are from each other respectively. 
The zoological statement of his principal characters follows. § 

Okder, bimanum (two-handed) ; genus, homo ; the species 
single, with several varieties hereafter enumerated. 

Characters J erect stature; two hands; teeth approximated and 
of equal length : the inferior incisors perpendicular. Prominent 
chin ; rational ; endowed with speech ; unarmed ; defenceless. 

Tliese circumstances are so obvious and so abundantly suf- 
ficient to characterize man, that the doubts and hesitation of 
Linneus in assigning a specific distinction, appear to us rather 

* In a memoir read before the Academy of Sciences, but not jet published, 
Cuvier has endeavoured to prove that this tremendous creature is only the 
adult S. Satyrus. They are both confined to the island of Borneo ; and they 
agree in the great length of the arms, and the prominence and stren"-th of the 
spinous processes of the cervical vertebra?. The skulls of both are in the 
Hunterian collection ; and are strongly contrasted to each other in the rela- 
tive proportions of the cranium and face, as well as in some other points. If 
these are merely the differences between the young and the fuil-^rownani- 
mal, 1 know no other example of such a metamorphosis in the animal king- 
dom. For the skull of the orang-outang, see the plate of Blumenbach already 
quoted ; for that of the pongo, Fischer Naturhisiorische FraaiiuiUe, tab. 3 & 4. 
1 must, however, acknowledge that the head of the individual at Exeter 
Change comes much nearer to that of the pongo than either the cranium 
figured by Blumenbach, or that in the Hunterian collection ; and the resem- 
blance seems to me to increase with the animal's growth. 

t A good engraving from a living original is found in Le Cat Trailedu Fluids 
des \erfs ; it is copied by Blumenbacli Abbild. A". H. G. No. 11. 

X The Anatomy oj'a Fig'my, compared with that of a Monkey, an Ape, and a Mart. 

\ Blumenbach. Cuvier. 


incomprehensible. " Nullum characterem," he observes, " hac- 
tenus eruere potui, unde homo a simia internoscatur."* And 
he again states, in the Si/stema Natur(e,f " Mirum adeo parum 
difierre stultissimam simiam a sapientissimo homine, ut iste 
geodcetes naturae etiamnum quserendns, qui hos limitet." If 
these representations were correct, zoology would not deserve 
the rank of a science. 

The remainder of this work w\\\ be divided into two sections : 
the first, on the (corporeal and mental) differences between man 
and animals, or, in other words, on the specific character of man, 
will contain a detailed explanation of the particulars composing 
that character, a commentary on the short zoological statement, 
which immediately precedes, and an attempt to settle the ques- 
tion, whether man be a distinct species, or have a common origin 
^vith, and specific affinity to any other animals : the second will 
be devoted to the different races of mankind, will contain an 
enumeration and discussion of the characters by which they are 
distinguished, and a full consideration of the question, whether 
they ought to be regarded as originally distinct species, or as 
varieties of one single species. 




The erect attitude of Man, and cotisequent Peculiarities in the Structure of 
the lower Limbs, 'Thorax, Spine, and Pelvis. 

In the external conformation of man we immediately remark 
his upright stature ; that majestic attitude, which announces his 
superiority over all the other inhabitants of the globe. He is 
the only being adapted by his organization to go erect. En- 
slaved to their senses, and partaking merely of physical enjoy- 
ments, other animals have their heads directed towards the 
earth : " Quae natura prona, atque ventri obedientia finxit." 
Man, whose more elevated nature is connected to surrounding 
objects by moral relations, who can pursue the concatenations 
of causes and effects, and embrace in his mind the system of 
the universe, boldly regards the heavens, and can direct his 
♦ Fauna Suecica, Pief. + Ed. 12, p. 34, note. 


sight even into the starry regions : — the contrast, so finely 
expressed by the poet, is therefore quite correct in fact ; 

Pronaque cum spectent auimalia cetera terram, 
Os honiini sublime dedit ; c;elumque tueri 
Jussit ; ot erectos ad sideia tuUere vultus. 

I propose to prove that the erect stature is suited to the orga- 
nization of the human subject ; and that it is exclusively peculieir 
to man. 

It might appear a sufficient proof of the upright attitude and 
biped progression being natural to our species, that such has 
been the invariable practice of all nations in all ages of the 
world ; — that no people, no tribe, nor even any individual in a 
healthy condition, has been known to do otherwise. Yet even 
this has been contested ; and, as philosophers have not been 
wanting to argue that we were naturally furnished with tails, 
but, by some strange change or chance, had got rid of the 
degrading appendage ; so others have held that we were designed 
by nature to go on all fours;* justifying the acute remark, 
" Nihil tam absurdum esse, quod non ab aliquo philosopho 
dictum fuit." 

The chief support of this notion concerning the human sub- 
ject being naturally quadruped, has been derived from the exam- 
ples of wild men j that is, children lost in woods and growing 
up in a solitary state. Even Linneus has kindly taken them 
under his protection, and has provided a respectable situation 
for them in his Systema Naturce, under the head of " homo 
sapiens yerM5," to whom he assigns the epithets tetrapus, mutus, 

What is this homo ferus of Linneus ? How are we to con- 
sider these wild men ? In different countries of Europe a few 
indi\'iduals — and very few indeed are authentically recorded — 
have been met with in a solitary state ; — young persons, wan- 
dering alone in the woods, or mountainous regions. To unso- 
phisticated common sense they appear poor, half-witted, stupid 
beings, incapable of speech, with faculties very imperfectly 
developed, and therefore probably escaping from or abandoned 
by their parents or friends. But their case has been eagerly 
taken up and warmly defended by some philosophers, who 
employ them to exemplify natural man, — the original uncor- 
rupted creature — in opposition to those who have become vitiated 
and degenerate by civihzation. When presented to us in so 

* Moscati, von der kb'rperlichen wesentlichen Unterschiede zwisrhen dnr 
St>-uctur der Menschen und der Thiere ; Gotting. 1771. 8vo. 

Schrage, a Dutchman, in a Dutch journal, entitled Gencesnatuur-en Uuh- 
houd-kundige Jaarboeken. T. 3. p. 32. 


important a character, and with such high pretensions, it is 
necessary to inquire a little into the proofs of their pedigree and 

Peter the wild boy, who lived many years in this county, is 
one of the most authentic cases ; and his biography will answer 
the purpose very well.* In July 1724, Jurgen Meyer, a towns- 
man of Hameln, met in his field with a : aked, brownish, black- 
haired boy, apparently about twelve years old, who uttered no 
sound, was enticed, by showing him two apples, into the town, 
and placed, for safe custody, in an hospital, by order of the 
burgo-master Severin. Peter — thus he was christened by 
the children on his first appearance in the town, and he went by 
the same to his death — behaved rather brutish at first ; seeking 
to get out at doors and windows, resting now and then on his 
knees and elbows, and roUing himself from side to side till he 
fell asleep. He did not like bread, but he eagerly peeled green 
sticks, and chewed the peel for the juice, as he also did vegeta- 
bles, grass, and bean-shells. He soon learned to conduct himself 
more properly, and was allowed to go about the town When 
anything was offered him to eat, he first smelt it, and then put 
it in his mouth, or laid it aside shaking his head. In the 
same way he would smell people's hands, and then strike his 
breast if pleased, or otherwise shake his head. When he 
particularly liked anything, as beans, peas, mulberries, fruit, 
and particularly onions and nuts, he indicated his satisfaction 
by striking repeatedly on his chest. 

When shoes were first given to him, he could not walk in 
them, and appeared happy in getting rid of them, and running 
about again barefooted. Covering the head was equally unplea- 
sant to him ; and he enjoyed greatly throwing his hat or cap 
into the Weser, and seeing it swim down. But he soon became 
accustomed to clothing. 

His hearing and smell were acute. 

In October 1725, he was sent for by George I. to Hanover; 
whence he was transmitted to London in the beginning of the 
following year, under the care of a king's messenger; and this 
was the foundation of his fame and fortune. 

Just at this time the controversy about the existence of innate 
ideas v/as at its height ; and Peter seemed the very subject for 
determining the question. Count Zinzendorf wished that 
he should be intrusted to his charge, that he might watch the 

* The following account is derived from Blumenbacli's Beytrage ztir Na- 
turscschichte, 'i theil. He has taken i^reat pains to make out, from original 
and cotem^Jorary documents, the trueliistory of this homo sajneiis /eras. 


development of his innate ideas : but the King had already 
placed him at the disposal of the Princess of Wales, the after- 
wards celebrated Queen Caroline, who confided the precious 
trust to Dr. Arbuthnot, still for the purpose of investigating 
his innate ideas. 

Swift has immortalized him in his humorous production. 
It cannot ruin but it pours ; or, London strewed with Rarities. 
LiNXEUs gave him a niche in the Systema Natures, under the 
denomination of " Juvenis Hanoveranus ;" Buffon, De 
Paauw, and J.J. Rousseau, have extolled him as the true 
child of nature, the genuine unsophisticated man. Monboddo* 
is still more enthusiastic, declaring his appearance to be a much 
more important occurrence than the discovery of the planet 
Uranus, or than if astronomers, to the catalogue of stars already 
known, had added thirty thousand new ones. 

Amidst these expectations and honours, a few circumstances 
were either unknown or overlooked, calculated to raise great 
doubts of Peter's fitness for such high destinies, and to pro- 
duce an unpleasant suspicion that he had not entirely escaped 
the contaminating infiuence of civiUzed life. 

When he was first met with, a small fragment of a shirt hung 
about his neck ; and the whiteness of his thighs, comjjared to 
his brown legs, proved that he must have worn breeches, but 
not stockings. His tongue was very large, and Uttle capable of 
motion, so that an army surgeon at Hameln thought of attempt- 
ing to set it free by cutting the frenum ; but did not perform the 
operation. Further, some boatmen, in descending the Weser, 
had seen at different points on the banks of the river, a poor 
naked boy, and given him something to eat ; and, lastly, it was 
ascertained that a widower at Liichtringen had had a dumb 
child, who, having been lost in the woods in 1723, returned 
home again ; but, on his father's second marriage, was driven 
out again by his step-mother. 

Dr. Arbuthnot soon found out that no brilliant discoveries 
in psychology or anthropolog}' couldbe expected from the case of 
this poor idiot : he was therefore placed with a farmer in Hert- 
fordshire, where he continued to live or rather vegetate till 1785. 

Peter was of a middle size, somewhat robust in appearance, 

and strong, and had a respectable beard. He took the ordinary 

mixed diet, retaining his early fondness for onions. He liked 

• " I consider his history as a brief chronicle or abstract of the historj- of 
the progress of liuman nature, from the mere animal to the first stage of civil- 
ized life." — Ancient Meta^jhysics, v. iii. p. 57. 


warmth ; and relished a glass of brandy. He always showed 
the most perfect indiiference to the other sex. 

He could not be taught to sjjeak : the plainest of the few arti- 
culate sounds he could utter were, Peter, ki sho, and qui ca, the 
two latter being attempts at pronouncing King George and 
Queen Caroline. He had a taste for music, and would hum 
over ■<^arious airs that he often heard ; when an instrumental 
performance took place, he would jump about with great delight 
till he was quite tired. He was deficient in one important privi- 
lege of our nature ; having never been seen to laugh. 

He was a harmless and obedient creature, and could be 
employed in httle domestic oflSces, or in the fields, but not 
without superintendence. Having been left to himself to throw 
up a load of dung into a cart, as soon as he had executed the 
task, he jumped up and set to work as dihgently to throw it al 
out again. Having, on one occasion, wandered away from 
home as far as Norfolk, at the time when great alarms existed 
about the Pretender and his emissaries, he was brought before 
ajustice of peace as a suspicious character, and making no 
answer to any interrogatories, was deemed contumacious, and 
sent to prison. A fire broke out in the night, when he was 
found sitting quietly in a corner, enjoying the light and warmth 
very much, and not at all willing to move. 

Such was this famous representative of unsophisticated 
human nature ! 

Although Peter was little capable of fiUing that high situa- 
tion, his history affords a striking and useful caution, by 
exhibiting the uncertainty of human testimony and historical 
evidence. No two accounts agree in the year, season, and place 
of his discovery ; and later printed histories contain serious nar- 
ratives of George I. having found him in hunting at Herren- 
hausen, or in the Harz ; that it was necessary to cut down the 
tree, in the top of which he had taken refuge ; that his body was 
covered with hair, and that he ran on all fours ; that he jumped 
about trees like a squirrel, knew how to get the bait out of traps 
placed for wolves ; that he was carried over to England in an 
iron cage, learned to speak in nine months at the court of the 
Uueen, was baptized at the house of Dr. Arbuthnot, and soon 
after died, &c. &c. 

Peter was as upright in his attitude, and as invariably biped, 
as any of ourselves ; and the same remark holds good of all the 
other authentic examples; as of the girl described by Con da- 


MINE,* a man found in the Pyrenees,f and the boyj met with 
near Aveyron, and brought to Paris soon after the revolution. 
On the other hand, where they have been described as going on 
all fours, suspicious circumstances occur in the narration, calcu- 
lated to throw discredit on the whole. Such is the case with 
LiNNEUs's juvenis ovinus Hibernus, taken from Tulpius, 
Observat. Medicar. lib. iv. cap. 9. He is said to have been 
brouglit up " inter oves sylvestres," and thence to have acquired 
" natura ovilla ;" he is described further as " ferox ac indomitus, 
\Tiltu truci," &c. 

An unprejudiced examination of all these cases, putting aside 
what is obviously exaggerated or fabulous, proves that they 
are merely instances of defective organization; mal-formed 
animals, incapable of speech, and exhibiting few and imperfect 
mental phenomena ; pathological specimens, therefore, rather 
than examples of human perfection. Nothing can be conceived 
more widely removed from the natural condition of man, than 
these half-witted beings ; and we might as rationally adopt any 
monstrous birth for a model of the human form, as set them up 
for a standard of the attitude, progression, or faculties of man. 

But, if these beings had been free from defect, if they had 
been well-formed, and capable of all human endowments, shoidd 
we deem them more natural for having been solitary ? should we 
not, on the contrary, be justified in regarding that insulated 
condition as a deviation from the scheme of nature, comparing it 
with Voltaire to the state of a bee, which has lost the hive ?§ 
Is the social rook or antelope more artificial or degenerate than 
the solitary eagle or lion ? 

If the erect attitude and biped progression be peculiar to man, 
the structure of the lower limbs which support his trunk, and 
of their muscles, which move it, must exhibit characters of form, 
size, and arrangement, which are met with in no other animals. 
The influence of this peculiarity will not be confined to the lower 
limbs ; it will also modify the pelvis, which is the basis of the 
trunk, receiving above the weight of the abdominal viscera, the 
thorax, upper limbs, and head, transmitting this weight to the 
lower limbs, and oflfering fixed points for their motions ; the 
upper limbs, which are not employed for support, but merely as 

• Histoire d'unejeunc Fille Sauragn, 12mo. Paris, 1761. 

1- Leroy Exploitation de la Nature dans les Pyrenees ; 4to. 1776, p. 8. 

t Historical Account of the young Savage of Aveyron, 12mo. 

\ " Si Ton rencontre une abeiile errante, devra-t-on conciure qi:e oetto 
abeille est dans I'etat de pui'e nature, et que celles qui travaillent en soti^te 
dans la ruche ont dea<5n6r6 ?" 



instruments of prehension ; the thorax, by which they are sepa- 
rated, and on which they rest; and the junction of the head 
M ith the vertebral column, on which the due support of this 
weighty mass, and the proper direction of the eyes, mouth, and 
face depend. 

The length and strength of the lower limbs, the great instru- 
ments of support and progression, are very striking, and quite 
peculiar to man. They are equal in length to the trunk and 
head together, which is not the case in any other animal, except- 
ing the kangaroo, jerboa, &c. where the principles of construction 
and the offices of these parts are quite different from the human. 

In all the monkey tribe, they fall very far short of this pro- 
portion ; even in the orang-outang and chimpanse they are 
short and weak, and manifestly inadequate to sustain the body 
erect. This circumstance alone effectually disqualifies the most 
manlike monkey from participating with man in that grand 
attribute ; and would of itself be a sufficient ground for specific 
distinction between the two beings. If the lower limbs of 
monkeys are weak, in comparison with the human, those of other 
animals, and particularly of true quadrupeds, are much more 
so : the short thigh-bone is almost concealed by the muscles of 
the body, and the rest of the limb is slender, and not covered 
by any great muscular masses. 

The disproportion in the respective lengths of our upper and 
lower limbs, clearly pomts out the different offices they are 
destined to execute. The superior length and power of the 
latter, so necessary for the various purposes connected with our 
erect attitude, make us altogether unfit for going on all fours, 
as will be immediately shown by a trial. In such an experiment, 
either the lower limbs must be thrown obliquely backwards, or 
the articulations held in a bent and very insecure position. Even 
children, before they can walk, in whom the lower limbs are 
comparatively shorter than in adults, crawl upon their knees, or 
else drag the lower extremities after them on the ground. 

To the long and powerful femur, to the strong tibia, to the 
broad articular surfaces which join these at the knee, no parallel 
can be met with in any animal. 

The breadth of the human pehds affords an ample basis of 
support for the trunk; and this receives a still further transverse 
enlargement by the length of the cervix femoris, another pecu- 
liarity of human organization. This long neck throws the body 
of the bone outwards, disengages its shaft from the hip-joint, 


and thus increases the extent of rotation. It gives the body- 
greater firmness in standing, without impeding progression, 
since the head of the bone, and not the body, is the centre of 
motion. If the thigh-bones possessed no neck, but were kept 
equally far aoart by increasing the distance between the cotyloid 
ca\-ities, the attitude of standing would be just as secure, the 
transverse base of support being still the same ; but progression 
would be impeded, as it actually is in the female, from the greater 
transverse diameter of the pelvis. 

Another character of the human femur, is the obliquity of its 
shaft, and superior length of the internal condyle, arising from 
the breadth of the pelvis, and length of the cervix, combined 
with the necessity for bringing its lower end perpendicularly 
under the pelvis, in reference to the secure support of the trunk 

The hue of direction of the human femur is perpendicular, the 
same as that of the trunk : its axis coincides with the centre of 
gravity of the body ; it is placed perpendicularly under the pelvis, 
and thus supports the trunk steadily. In all other animals it 
forms an angle \\'ith the spine ; and this is often even an acute 
one. It is obvious that the erect attitude must be extremely 
unsteady, and the difficulty of maintaining the body in equilibrjo 
very great in such an arrangement. When the vertebral column 
is raised perpendicularly in the orang-outang, the thigh-bones 
form an obtuse angle with it : the long arms preserve the balance, 
as they do hkewise in the gibbon (S. Lar.) The angle is in- 
creased in quadrupeds imder similar circumstances, and the 
efforts they make to remain upright on the hind feet are con- 
tinued with difficidty, more especially if not assisted by some 
other advantages of construction, as in the bear, for instance, by 
the length of the heel. 

The feet being the idtimate supports of the whole frame, and 
the primary agents of locomotion, are characterized by a com- 
bination of greater breadth, strength, and solidity, in proportion 
to the size of the body, than those of any animal. The whole 
surface of the tarsus, metatarsus, and toes, rests on the ground, 
and the os calcis forms a right angle with, the leg. The two last 
circumstances are seen in no other animal : even the simiae and 
the bear have the end of the os calcis raised, so that this bone 
begins to form an acute angle with the leg ; the dog, the cat, 
and other digitated quadrupeds, even the elephant himself, do 
not rest on the tarsus or carpus, but merely on the toes ; the 
cloVen-hoofed ruminants (bisulca) and the solipeda, touch the 

F 2 


ground merely with the extremities of the third phalanges, and 
the OS caleis is raised nearly into a perpendicular position. Thus, 
as we depart from man, the foot is more and more contracted 
and elongated, the part serving for support reduced, and th(» 
angle of the heel-bone rendered more acute. 

The great size of the os caleis, and particularly the bulk and 
prominence of its posterior projection, to which the powerful 
muscles of the calf are affixed, correspond to its important 
office of supporting the back of the foot, and resisting force 
apjilied to the front of the body. This single bone is, therefore, 
an infallible characteristic of man ; and " Ex calce hominem." 
would probably be a safer rule than " Ex pede Herculem." 

The concavity of the sole is an arrangement rendered necessary 
by the whole surface resting flat on the ground. It provides 
room for the muscles, nerves, vessels, and tendons of the toes. 
It also assists the functions of the foot, by enabhng it to gain a 
kind of hold of the bodies on which it rests, and to accommodate 
itself to unequal surfaces, an advantage almost destroyed by the 
use of shoes, but eminently conspicuous in those people, whose 
feet are not cramped by artificial means of defence. 

The gradually increased breadth of the foot towards the front, 
the predominance of its solid and nearly immovable parts, the 
tarsus, and metatarsus, over the more flexible toes, the direction 
of the metatarsal bone supporting the great toe, its situation and 
want of mobility, are circumstances of strong contrast with the 
structure of the hand, plainly pointing out the former as orga- 
nised for strength and resistance, and adapted to increase the 
extent and solidity of its svipport. 

A further argument to the same effect may be drawn from 
the comparative progress of ossification in the two members. 
The bones of the tarsus, and particularly the os caleis, ossify at 
an earlier period, and advance more rapidly in their development, 
than those of the carpus : very little strength of hand is required 
in the first years of life, while the feet, at the end of twelve 
months, begin to be employed in sustaining the body, and 
advancing it by progressive motion. 

The lower limbs can be separated more widely in man, than 
I'n any animal, in consequence of the great breadth of the pelvis, 
and length of the cervix femoris. Thus we are enabled to derive 
the full advantage from those admirable instruments of support, 
the feet : an advantage, which may be estimated by observing 
the varied motions, the rapid changes and multiiilied combina- 


lions of movement, according to the probable direction of the 
expected impulse, in boxing, wrestling, and other similar feats 
of activity, in pushing, pulling, &c. &c. 

In all the particulars just described, we see a strong contrast 
between man, and the nearest or most anthropomorphous 
animals, even the monkey and orang-oUtang. In the latter, the 
cervix femoris is short, the thigh-bone straight, and its two con- 
dyles of equal length.* The foot rests on its outer edge, the 
lieel not touching the ground ; the tarsus is contracted, and the 
digital phalanges lengthened, so that in these respects it resembles 
a hand, f 

The peculiarities of the human pehas coincide with those of 
the lower limbs. The form of this part is very characteristic in 
man, and distinguishes him from the simiae, and indeed from 
all other mammalia. It might be asserted, that the human 
skeleton alone has a proper pelvis ; that is, such an incurvation 
of the sacrum and coccyx, and such an union of them with the 
ossa innominata, as forms a basin-\\ke cavity ; from which, the 
space included between the elongated ilia, and the straight 
sacrum and coccyx of monkeys, difler toto cselo. In the orang- 
outang, and the elephant, we find the nearest approach to the 
human formation. In the former,^ however, the upper part of 
the' ilium is narrow and elongated, stretching upwards in the 
direction of the spine, and its length exceeds its breadth ; so 
that the relations of these two dimensions are very different in 
man and this animal. § In the latter, the symphysis pubis is 
very deep ; and in both, there is neither that incurvation of the 
sacrum, from the promontory downwards, nor that direction of 
the coccyx forwards, which, with the broad horizontal expan- 
sion of the ilia, and the shallowness of the symphysis pubis, are 
peculiar to the human frame, and make it a broad and firm basis 
for the trunk, on which the weight of the abdominal contents, 
and particularly of the pregnant uterus, is supported, llie 
lower part of the sacrum and the os coccygis are turned forwards 
in man, and form the only firm bony resistance, in the inferior 
aperture of the pelvis, to the abdominal viscera, forced down- 
wards by the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. These bones 

• Tyson, fig. 5. 

t CEuvres de Camper, pi. II. fii?. 5 Jfe 6. Tyson, fg. cit. 
t Camper, CEuvres, pi. II. fig. 7. Tyson, fig 5. 

? The height of the whole pelvis, from the tuber ischii to the crista of the 
ilium is . 7 in. 3 li. in man. 

6 In. in the orang-outang. 

Its breadth, between the two anterior > 10 in. 6 li. in man. 

spines i U in. 6 li. ia the orang-outang. 


are straight in all other animals, because the weight of the 
viscera is ditFerently supported. Even in the orang-outang, the 
sacrum is Hat and contracted, and continued, together with the 
OS coccygis, in a straight line with the vertebral column. If the 
human sacrum and coccyx had been continued in a straight 
line with the spine, as those of the orang-outang and monkeys 
are, the mnominata remaining as at present, they would have 
projected beyond those bones, so as to disable us from sitting. 
The curve which they describe, in man only, obviates this incon- 
venience ; and allows the pelvis to rest securely in the sitting 
attitude on the broad and strong ischiatic tuberosities. 

The influence of this structure on the direction and functions 
of the vagina will be considered afterwards. 

The distribution, size, and offices of the muscular masses 
correspond to the organic arrangements of the skeleton. The 
lateral and posterior surfaces of the pelvis give origin to the 
po%verful glutei, of which the exterior (glutei magni), exceeding 
in size all other muscles in the body, and covered by a remark- 
able stratum of fat, form the buttocks, which, by their ample, 
fleshy, and convex protuberances, conceal the anus ; and are 
accounted both by the classical authors in natural history, as 
Aristotle and Buffon, and by the greatest physiologists, as 
Galen and Haller, as the chief character by which mart is 
distinguished from the buttockless simiae. " Les fesses," says 
the great historian of nature, " n'appartiennent qu'a I'espece 
humaine." The final cause of this prerogative has been assigned 
by an anatomist. " Solus homo ex omnibus animalibus com- 
mode sedet, cui carnosse et magnae nates contigere, et pro sub- 
sternaculo pulvinarique, tomento repleto, inserviimt, ut citra 
molestiam sedendo, cogitationibus rerum divinarum animum 
rectius applicare possit."* 

The use of the glutei, however, is not confined solely to what 
the pious Spigelius has imagined ; viz., the forming a cushion 
on which the body may be softly supported, for the purposes of 
divine cogitation ; but they are very important agents in ex- 
tending the pelvis on the thighs, and maintaining it in that 
state in the erect position of the trunk. In standing on both 
feet, the glutei magni fix the pelvis firmly behind, and coun- 
teract the natural tendency to fall forwards, which the weight of 
the head, the usual position of the upper limbs in front of the 
body, and the prominence of the abdominal viscera, impress 
• Spigelius de hum. Corp. Fab. p. 9, 


upon the trunk. Hence, the bulk and power of these very 
muscles in the human subject afford a clear proof that man was 
designed for the attitude on two feet. The other two glutei 
are not essentially concerned in the attitude of standing on both 
feet ; but they are the principal agents in supporting and 
balancing the trunk on one foot, by inclining the pelvis over the 
head of that thigh-bone, on which the body rests, so that the 
centre of gravity of the trunk may be in a line drawn through 
that lower extremity. In this case, their exertion counteracts 
the tendency of the trunk to fall on that side which is not sup- 
ported. These muscles are employed in a similar manner in 
progression : the gluteus magnus balances the pelvis, while one 
leg is carried before the other, and brought to the ground ; and 
the two others support the trunk laterally, while the limb of the 
opposite side is in the air. 

The gluteus magnus, which is the largest muscle of the 
human body, is so small and insignificant in animals, that it 
may be almost said not to exist. F. Cuvier observes of the 
orang-outang, " les fesses etoient presque nulles, ainsi que las 
moUets."* Tyson indeed asserts, of the chimpanse, that " our 
pygmie had buttock or nates, as we shall see in the myology, 
but not so much as in man."f However, in his apparently 
accurate figure X there is no trace of them. 

The extensors of the knee are much stronger in the human 
subject than in other mammalia ; as their two-fold opera- 
tion of extending the leg on the thigh, and of bringing the 
thigh forwards on the leg, forms a very essential part in the 
human mode of progression. The flexors of the knee are, on 
the contrary, stronger in animals ; and are inserted so much 
lower down in the ii])ia, even in the monkeys, than in the 
human subject, that the cord which they form, keeps the knee 
habitually bent, and almost prevents the perfect extension of the 
leg on the thigh. Where the thigh and leg thus form an angle, 
instead of being continued in a straight line, the support of the 
body on the hind legs must be very insecure. 

The extensor muscles of the ankle-joint, and chiefly those 
which form the calf of the leg, are the principal agents in pro- 
gression. Hence man is particularly characterized by the large- 
ness of his calves ; and no animal equals him in this respect. 

• Annales du Museum, v. 16. p. 47. The correctness of this remark is fully 
verified hy the orang-outang belonging to Mr. Abel. It has neither buttocks 
nor calves. 

T Anatomy of a Pygmie, ^.\i, J F. 2. 


By elevating the os calcis, they raise the whole body in the act 
of progression ; and, by extending the leg on the foot, they 
counteract that tendency, which the weight of tlie body has to bend 
the leg in standing. The muscles of the calves lift the heels, and 
thereby elevate the whole body, which is supported on the 
astragalus : the weight is thus maintained on the anterior part 
of the feet, and the individual is said to stand on tiptoes. If the 
foot of one side be lifted from the ground, and the opposite heel 
be raised by the calf of its own side, the whole body is then 
elevated by the muscles of one calf. When a person stands on 
tiptoe with a burden on the shoulders, or any other part of the 
trunk, the weight of this, as well as of the body, must be raised 
and supported by the muscles of the calf. In running, leaping, 
jumping in the air, dancing, &c., the projection of the body is 
accomplished by the same power. 

Aristoi.e, and others after him, have justly observed that 
calves of the legs can be ascribed to man only. 

The whole arrangement of the thorax corresponds to the erect 
attitude of man. It is flattened anteriorly, possesses a very 
broad sternum, is wide transversely, but shallow from before 
backwards. Its lateral width and inconsiderable depth from 
sternum to spine, not only throw the arms far apart, and thus 
give a more extensive range to their motions, but diminish that 
preponderance of the trunk towards the front, which, although 
it is unimportant in the horizontal, is very inconvenient in the 
erect attitude. Man is said to be the only animal, in which the 
transverse exceeds the antero-posterior diameter of the chest. 
Even in the simia satyrus the latter exceeds the former measure- 

The human sternum is short, as well as broad ; hence a large 
space is left between the front of the chest and the ])elvis, unpro- 
vided wth bony supports ; the weight of the viscera, which are 
sufficiently guarded by the abdominal muscles, is securely sus- 
tained below by the ample pelvis. 

Quadrupeds have a thorax compressed laterally, narrow and 
keelshaped on its sternal aspect, consequently deep from 
sternum to spine, but confined in the transverse dimension. 
This structure, with the absence of clavicles, allows the front 
legs to come near together, to fall perpendicularly under the 
front of the trunk, and support it with firmness and facihty. 
Their sternum is long and narrow, the ribs advance nearer to the 
* Camper, (Euvres, i. p. 115. 


crista of the os innominatum, and together with the stermim 
cover a large share of the abdomen, and support its viscera 
more effectually in the horizontcd position of the trunk. For 
the same purpose too, the ribs in many cases are more numerous 
than in man ; viz., thirty-two in the hyena, thirty-six in the 
horse, forty in the elephant, and forty-six in the unau (Brady- 
pus didactylus.) 

These, with other points, which cannot escape obsen^ation, 
when the skeleton of any rather long-legged quadruped is com- 
pared to that of man, show how unfit he is for the attitude on 
all fours, which in his case can never be otherwise than unsteady, 
irksome, and fatiguing in the highest degree. 

The spine of man presents some important peculiarities 
resulting from his characteristic attitude. One of these is its' 
very remarkable increase of size in the lumbar region ; an 
augmentation corresponding to that of the superincumbent 
weight, and to the magnitude of the efforts which this part has 
to sustain. The immense bulk of the sacrum,* far exceeding, 
in proportion to the rest of the body, that of any animal, is 
referable to the same cause, to the mode in which this weight is 
transmitted to the hip-bones, and thence to the lower limbs, 
and to the peculiar construction of the pelvis. The waving 
line -f of the column, arising from a series of alternate curves in 
opposite directions, is altogether peculiar to man ; it allows a 
proper distribution of tiie weight with respect to the centre of 
gravity, the line of which carried through the entire trunk must 
fall within the space covered by the feet, or by one foot when 
we support the body on one only. As this line passes through 
all the curves, motion is allowed in the upper regions without 
impairing the general equilibrium. 

The cervical vertebrae of the monkeys, including the satyrus^ 
and troglodytes,§ are remarkable for the length and prominence 

* In the chimpanse, says Tyson, "the os sacrum was nothing so dilated 
and spread, as 'tis in man ; but contracted and narrow, as 'tis in apes ; and 
very remarkably ditierent from the human skeleton." P. 69. 

t This is excellently represented in Albinus's plates of the skeleton ; par- 
ticularly in the side view, tab. iii. I refer to the original Leydeu edition of 
this incomparable work ; which, when the plates of the bones are added, con- 
stitutes the must accurate, useful, and splendid publication ever produced in 
aaatomy. Its merits cannot be estimated from the English editions. 

} " Les vertebres cervicales sont remarquables par la longueur extraordinaire 
des apophyses epineuses des six infdrieures ; mais surtout par celle du milieu." 
" Les apophyses paroissent avoir besoin de cette longueur dans I'orang, pour 
qu'il puisse tenir mieux sa teteen equilibre. Je ne counois aucun autre animal 
(lont les apophyses epineuses des verlebres oe)"vicales soient aussi longues, 
except6 le philandre d'Am^rique." Camper, CEuvres, i. l:iG. pi. 2. fig. 3. 

5 tyson, p. 68. 

F 3 


of the spinous processes ; a peculiarity probably connected with 
the support of the head, which preponderates in front in conse- 
quence of the elongation of the jaws and the retreat of the occi- 
pital condyles backwards.* 

I have explained how the lower extremities afford a sufficient 
base of support and solid columns to sustain the trunk, and how 
the same point is secured by the organic arrangements of the 
latter. The breadth of the human pelvis forms an ample basis 
for the body, and a firm point of action for the abdominal and 
other muscles, enabling them quickly to rectify the position of 
the parts above. In aU the digitated animals, the pelvis is so 
narrow, that the trunk resembles an inverted pyramid : there 
would be great difficulty in maintaining it in equilibrio, even if 
it were possible for the animal to assume the erect position. In 
those instances, where the pelvis is broader, as in the hoofed 
animals, the other conditions of the upright stature are absent. 
The bear, however, forms an exception to these observations, 
and may be taught to stand and walk erect, although the posture 
is manifestly irksome to the animal. When quadrupeds endeavour 
to support themselves on the hind extremities, as for the purpose 
of seizing any objects with the fore-feet, they rather sit down 
than assume the erect position ; for they rest on the thighs, as 
well as on the feet, and this can only be done, where the fore- 
part of the body is small, as in the simiae, squirrel, &c. In other 
cases the animal is obliged to support itself by the fore-feet also, 
as in the dog, cat, &c. 


On the upper Ettremiiies : Mvantageous Construction of the Human Hand : Man 
is two-handed, the Monkey kind four-handed: on the natural attitude and 
Gait of Monkeys. 

A CURSORY survey of the upper limbs will be sufficient to 
convince us that they are entirely unsuited to the office of sup- 
porting the body, and as well calculated for the uses to which we 
put them, of seizing and holding objects, and thereby executing, 
besides all the processes of the arts, a thousand minute but most 
serviceable actions of constant recurrence. 

There is a general resemblance of form throughout the upper 
and lower extremities : their principal divisions, the number and 

• This n;reat dt'veloimient of the cervical spines is most remarkable in the 
pongo, where the enormous bulk of the jaws corresponds to it. SeeAudebert, 
Uist A'at. des Singes ei Makis, fol. Planclie Anatomique 2, fig. 5. 


form of the bones, and the construction of the articulations in 
each division, correspond very clearly; the essential varieties 
may all be referred to the principles of soUdity and resistance in 
the lower, of mobility in the upper, as leading purposes of the 
formation. A comparison of the arm, fore-arm, and hand, to 
the thigh, leg, and foot ; of the os innominatum to the scapula ; 
of the hip, knee, and ankle, to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist ; 
of the carpus, metacarpus, and fingers, to the tarsus, metatarsus, 
and toes ; will at once prove and illustrate this difference. 

The scapulae, placed at the posterior and lateral aspects of the 
trunk, are kept wide apart by the clav^cles : a line falling per- 
pendicularly from the shoulder, in the erect attitude of the body, 
would pass far behind the hip : thus the upper limbs are thrown 
outwards and backwards, and have a free range in their principal 
motions, which are in the anterior direction. The glenoid cavi- 
ties look outwards. The arms are widely separated above, and 
they diverge towards their opposite ends : the lower limbs, on 
the contrary, converge from above downwards. In true quad- 
rupeds, the clavicles are suppressed ; * the shoulder-blades 
brought forwards on the chest, and approximated to each other ; 
and the glenoid cavities are directed downwards. Consequently, 
the anterior or pectoral members fall perpendicularly under the 
front of the chest, and come still nearer together below than 

The deep cup of the os innominatum, and the powerful orbi- 
cular hgament of the hip, are strongly contrasted with the shallow 
glenoid cavity and weak capsule of the shovdder : the difference 
between the broad articular surfaces and very powerful hga- 
ments of the knee, and the strong joint of the ankle on one side, 
and the articulations of the elbow and WTist on the other, is 
equally striking. 

The leg and fore-arm resemble each other less than the thigh 

and arm ; in the fore-arm the parts are arranged favourably to 

mobihty ; in the leg, the object is to procure a firm and solid 

* It is stated, in the Physiological Lectures, p. 123, that " no animal, except 
the monkey, has a c-lavicle Uke that of man." Certainly none, without ex- 
cepting even the monkey, have either clavicles, or any other bones, exactly 
resemljling the human in all points ; but many, even of the mure common 
kinds, have clavicles equal to those of man in relative size and length, as well 
as in office. As the use of this bone is to maintain the shoulder at its proper 
distance from the front of the trunk, and to prevent the scapula in particular 
from coming forwards on the chest, it exists in all cases, where the pectoral 
members are employed, either principally, or in great part, in executing pur- 
poses foreign to support, such as holding objects, climbing, flying, digging, 
raking the ground. It will be sufficient to mention that the lemurs and bats, 
the squirrel, beaver, rat, porcupine, mole, ant-eater, hedgehog, shrew, and 
sloth, possess perfect clavicles. 


support, which can transport the centre of gravity with ease and 
safety from one point to another. Of the two bones of the fore- 
arm, which are nearly equal in every respect, one rolls easily 
over the other, and the hand is articulated with the moveable 
bone. In the lower extremity these rolling motions would have 
introduced dangerous unsteadiness and insecurity. The foot 
therefore is articulated with the tibia, which corresponds to the 
ulna; and the fibula possesses no perceptible power of motion. 

The principal differences in the hand -and foot occur in the 
relation which the carpus and metacarpus, the tarsus and meta- 
tarsus — the solid or resisting portions — bear respectfully to the 
phalanges of the fingers and toes, the flexible portions of the 
members. The solid part of the hand is less developed, and 
has far less volume than the analogous part of the foot, on which 
the whole weight of the body in standing finally rests : the 
phalanges, on the contrary, which are the principal agents in 
executing the functions of the hand, are much longer and 
stronger than those of the toes, which are not so essential to 
station or progression. The three phalanges of the middle finger 
equal in length the length of the carpus and metacarpus toge- 
ther ; while the respective proportions of the tarsus and meta- 
tarsus and toes are about f and ^. The parts of the foot and 
hand are disposed inversely in respect to their importance. The 
posterior portion of the former, and the anterior of the latter, 
are of the most consequence, and possess the most remarkable 
characters. The functions of the hand render it necessary that 
its plane should be nearly continuous with that of the fore-arm ; 
otherwise the radius could not guide it so precisely to the objects 
in view. In the foot, the articulation is so disposed, that its 
posterior part offers a powerful lever for muscular agents, and 
a solid support for the mass above : it is formed by a single bone 
of the foot, which adds to its solidity. The metacarpus and 
metatarsus have a much greater similarity to each other ; the 
latter is the more solid, and offers this principal difference. The 
metatarsal bone of the great toe, by far the strongest of the 
whole, has scarcely any motion on the tarsus, and is parallel to 
the others ; while the corresponding boue of the thumb has a 
very considerable extent of motion, and is anterior to the rest of 
the metacarpus, supposing the palm to be turned directly for- 
wards. These remarkable differences are easily understood, 
when we consider that the great toe as one of the points on 
which the body is supported, requires solidity ; while the thumb. 


being concerned in all the numerous and varied motions of tlie 
hand, must he organized for mobility. 

The human hands being terminated by long and flexible, 
members, of which only a small portion is covered by the flat 
nails, while the rest is furnished with a highly organized and 
very sensible integument, form admirable organs of touch and 
instruments of prehension. The animal kingdom exhibits no 
corresponding part so advantageously constructed in these 
respects. At the same time, the lateral attachment of the arms 
to the trunk, and the erect attitude, gives us the freest use of 
these admirable instruments. So greatly does man excel animals 
in the conformation of the hands, that Anaxagoras asserted 
what Helvetius has again brought forwards in our times, 
" that man is the %visest of animals, because he possesses hands." 
In such a view we can by no means coincide ; yet Aristotle 
is well justified in observing that man alone possesses hands 
really deser\'ing that name. Several mammalia have also hands, 
but much less complete, and less serviceable than that of the 
human subject, which, in comparison to them, was justly enough 
termed by the Stagyrite the organ of aU organs. The great 
superiority of the human hand arises from the size and sti"ength 
of the thumb, which can be brought into a state of opposition 
to the fingers, and is hence of the greatest use in enabling us to 
grasp spherical bodies, and take up any object in the hand, in 
giving a firm hold on whatever we seize, in executing all the 
mechanical processes of the arts, in writing, drawing, cutting, 
in short, in a thousand offices, which occur every moment of 
our lives, and which either could not be accomplished at all, if 
the thumb were absent, or would require the concurrence of 
both hands, instead of being done by one only. Hence it has 
been justly described by Albinus as a second hand, " manus 
parva majori adjutrix."* 

All the simioe possess hands ; but the most distinguishing 
part, the thumb, is slender, short, and weak, ev^en in the most 
anthropo-morphous : f regarded as an imitation of the human 
structure, it would almost justify the term applied to it by 
EusTACHius, ridiculous. The other fingers are elongated and 
slender. X 

* De Sceleto, p. 465. 

+ The thumb of the orang-outang and chimpanse, besides being much 
smaller than the fingers, reaches only to the metacarpo-digital joint. Camper, 
(Euvres, pi. 2, fig. 5. F. Cuvier in the Annales du Museum, 1. 16, p. 4. Tyson, 
p. 12, fig. 5. 

i Simla; in general have nine bones in the carpus; and Camper found the 


Some animals, which have fingers sufficiently long and move- 
aLle for seizing and grasping objects, are obliged, by the want 
of a separate thumb, to hold them by means of the two fore- 
paws ; as the squirrel, rat, opossum, &c. Those which are 
moreover obliged to rest their fore-feet on the ground, as the 
dog and cat, can only hold objects by fixing them between the 
paw and the ground. Lastly, such as have the fingers united by 
integuments, or inclosed in hoofs, loose all power of prehension. 

The comparison, which I have already drawn between the 
construction of the hand and foot, having shown that the latter 
is merely calculated for support in man, we may state that he is 
two-handed and two-footed, or bimanous and biped. 

Monkeys, apes, and other anthropo-morphous animals can, 
in fact, be called neither bipeds nor quadrujjeds ; but they are 
quadrumanous, or four-handed.* They have opposable thumbs 
on the lower, as well as upper extremities ; and thus their feet 
are instruments of prehension as well as their hands. 

By a thumb we mean a member, not placed in a direction 
parallel to the fingers, but standing off from them laterally, 
enjoying separate motion, and therefore capable of being brought 
into opposition to them, as in grasping or prehension. A great 
toe, in its direction, articulation, and extent of motion, corres- 
ponds entirely to the other toes ; whereas the joints and mus- 
cles must be altogether different in a thumb. It is hardly 
necessary to point out how unfit the human feet are for all 
purposes of prehension : but the hind limbs of the simise really 
deserve the name of hands more than the front ; and are more 
advantageously constructed for holding. This hind thumb is 
so characteristic, that it is found in certain simise, which have 
either no fore-thumb or only a rudiment of it.f 

We may now answer the question, whether the orang-outang 
and other simise go erect, or on all fom-s : they do neither, but 
live chiefly in trees, for which they are admirably adapted l)y 

ninth bone in the orang-outang ; it was a sesamoid bone in the tendon of the 
abductor longus pollicis. OEuvres, 143. He found in the same animal a large 
sesamoid bone in the tendon of the popliteus ; ibid. 133. 

* Aristotle observed that the feet of monkeys resemble hands ; and Tyson, 
in describing the foot of the chimpans^ (S. troglodytes), says, " But this part, 
in the formation and its function too, being tiller a hand than a foot, for the 
distinguishing this sort of animals from others, I have thoufjht, whether it 
might not be recltoned and called rather quadrumanus than quadriipes ; i. e. a 
four-/iandnl, than a. four-footed atnmal," p. 13. 

t Mr. Geoffioy has placed together the simise thus circumstanced in a new 
genus, which he calls ateles (imperfect). Annale du Museum, t. 7 et 18. In 
the chamek ^ateles pentadactylus) there is a single phalanx, without a nail, 
and very slij^htly prominent. The coaita (S, pamscus L. Affiles paniscus 
Geofif.) has absolutely no visible thumb. 


having prehensile members, instruments for grasping and hold- 
ing, on both upper and lower extremities. Hence Cuvier calls 
them " les grimpeurs par excellence."* They live in trees, and 
find their food in them ; they can hang by one fore or hind leg, 
employing the remaining members in gathering fruit, or in other 
offices. Those which have less perfect hands, are furnished 
with prehensile tails, by which they can be more securely sup- 
ported in trees. 

It is hardly necessary to add, that when we see monkeys walk- 
ing erect, it must be ascribed to instruction and discipUne. The 
delineations of the orang-outang and chimpanse taken from the 
life, show how unnatural and inconvenient the erect posture is 
to them : they are drawn with the front hands leaning on a 
stick, while the posterior ones have the toes bent something 
like a clenched first.f 

The circumstances in the structure of the monkey kind, which 
render them unsuited for the erect attitude, have been already 
- in part explained : viz., the narrowness of the pelvis, the short 
and weak lower limbs, the angle formed by the thigh at its 
junction with the trunk, and that between the leg and thigh, 
small size of the muscles composing the buttocks and calves, 
and the slight prominence of the os calcis, which bone does 
not come to the ground. It may be added, that the exterior 
margin of the foot chiefly rests on the ground in the simiae ; 
which circumstance, while it leaves them a freer use of their 
thiunb and long toes in seizing the branches of trees, ren- 
ders the organ so much less adapted to support the body 
on level ground. The plantaris muscle, which is very fleshy 
in the monkey kind, instead of terminating, as it does in 
man, by insertion in the os calcis, passes over that bone into 
the sole, and is there connected ^vith the plantar aponeu- 
rosis and flexor perforatus, so that it may be regarded as 
making a part of both.^ In other quadrupeds it holds the 
place of the flexor perforatus, entering the foot over the os 
calcis. These arrangements are quite incompatible -with the 
erect attitude, as the tendon would be compressed, and its action 

• Leqons d' Anaiomie Compares, i.\, p. 493. From the agility, which the 
orang-outang at Exeter Change exhibits, in moving along the ropes suspended 
in his apartment, and swinging himself from one part to another, he seems 
strictly to deserve the denomination of a climbing animal. 

\ See Vosmaer's figure as copied by Blumenbach Jhhihl. n. h. Gegensiande 
No. 12. Tyson, fig. 1 & 2. The sitting attitude of Mr. Abel's figure, in which 
the extremities are all gathered up to the trunk, is much more natural than 
the erect position in which the monkey tribe are often represented. 

X Vioq D'Azyr, Discours sur I'Anatomie, (Euvres, t. 4, p. 149. 


impeded, if the heel rested on the ground. The thumbs, both 
of the fore and hind hands, have no separate flexor longus in 
the monkeys, but receive tendons from the flexors of the other 
fingers.* Hence, the tlnimbs in these animals will generally be 
bent together with the other fingers ; and they are less capable 
of those actions, in which the motion of the thumb is combined 
with that of the fore and middle finger, a combination so im- 
portant in numerous delicate operations. 

It is rather singular, since persons have been found to con- 
tend that man ought to go on all fours, that there should have 
been others, who undertake to prove that the orang-outang, and 
the monkey tribe in general, have an organization suited to biped 
progression. Even Buffon states that one, which he saw, 
always went on two feet, and he ascribes the erect attitude to 
him without any hesitation. No doubt he can sustain this 
posture for some time, and in the unnatural condition of con- 
finement he may frequently sit : hence, perhaps, we may account 
for the numerous observations, in which he is said to go erect 
But the circumstances of structure already explained show 
clearly that he is not calcvilated, like man, for that attitude ; and 
we find, in some of the most authentic accounts, that he is said 
to have gone on all fours. Allamand, who saw a simia 
satyrus in Holland, gives the following account of its motions 
and attitudes : " Its usual attitude was sitting, with its thighs 
and knees raised ; it walked nearly in the same posture, its rump 
being very near the ground. I never saw it perfectly upright, 
except when it wished to reach something ; and even then its 
knees were always a little on the bend, and it tottered."t 
VosMAER, who has described the same individual, says, "this 
animal generally walked on all fours, like the other monkeys ; 
but it could, likewise, walk erect on its hind feet, and, provided 
with a stick, it would often support itself for a considerable 
time. However, it never used its feet flat on the ground, as a 
man would do, but bent backwards in such a manner, that it 
supported itself on the external edge of its hind feet, with the 
toes drawn inwards, which denotes a posture for climbing 
trees." J The testimony of Camper concerning one which 
lived for some time in the menagerie of the Stadtholder at Petit 
Loo, is to the same efi'ect : " L'orang vivant couroit a quatre 
pattes, et lorsqu'il se tenoit debout (ce qu'il fit le plus dans les 
premiers tems de son arrivee et lorsqu'il jouissoit encore de 
• See the work above quoted, t Buflfon, by Wood ; v. 10, p. 79. t Ibid. p. 84. 


toute sa vigeur), il tenoit les genoux ploye's."* The description 
of the individual observed by F. Cuvier corroborates these 
observations : he climbed excellently, but walked as imperfectly. 
In the latter operation, he rested his closed hands on the ground, 
and dragged forv.-ards his hind parts. If one hand was held, 
he could walk on his feet : but then he supported himself by 
resting the other hand on the ground. The outer edge of the 
foot alone touched the ground ; and the toes were bent.f This 
description will apply in aU points to the orang-outang brought 
from Batavia by Mr. Abel;]; and a short observation of his 
customary attitudes and motions will convince any one that he 
is not organized for biped progression, nor capable of it, even 
for a short trial, without a troublesome and painful efibrt. 

The bent knees and general attitude of the figure represented 
l)y Tyson, show that the chimpanse is not a biped : " Being 
weak," says the author, " the better to support him I have 
given him a stick in his right hand."§ Several passages show, 
that the animal often went on all fours ; and thus confirm the 
representation given by the directors of the Sierra Leone com- 
pany ; II who say, in describing a young one, that " at first he 
crav/led on all fours ; always walking on the outside of his 
hands ; but, when grown larger, he endeavoured to go erect, 
supporting himself by a stick, which he carried in his hand." 

That the gibbon (S. Lar), another of the anthropomorphous 
simije, is not constructed for the erect attitude, appears from 
the testimony of Daubenton.^ It could go almost erect on 
the feet, but the legs and thighs were rather bent ; and some- 
times the hand touched the ground to support the reeling body : 
it was unsteady whenever it stopped in an upright posture, the 
heel only resting on the ground, and the sole being raised : it 
remained but a short time in this attitude, which appeared 

No instance has ever been produced of a monkey, nor indeed 
of any animal, except man, which could support the body in 
equilibrio on one foot only. The causes of this prerogative of 
the human organization will be found in the breadth of his foot, 
in the resting of its entire surface on the ground, in the bony 
and muscular strength of the lower extremity, and the length 
of the cervix femoris. 

• CEurres, 1. 1, p. 60. + Annalns du Museum, v. 16, p. 49. 

t Narrative of a Journey in China, p. 322, and followin;;. 

\ P. 16, pi. 1. II l\ 164. V. Butlon. by Wood, v. 10, p. 80. 


The foregoing considerations render it very clear that the 
erect stature is not only a necessary result of the human struc- 
ture ; but also that it is peculiar to man : and that the diiFerences 
in the form and arrangement of parts, derived from this source 
only, are abundantly sufficient to distinguish man by a wide 
interval from all other animals. The assertion of Linneus,* 
" dari simias erecto corpore binis aeque ac homo pedibus ince- 
dentes, et pedum et manuum ministerio humanam referentes 
speciem," is not only unsupported by any authentic testimony 
concerning animals of the monkey tribe, but directly contra- 
dicted by all the well-ascertained facts relating to those which 
most nearly resemble us in stature. 


Comparison of the Human Head and Teeth to those of Animals. 

When we consider that the head affords a receptacle for the 
organ of the mind, that it lodges the principal external senses, 
as well as the instruments for procuring, receiving, masticating, 
and swallowing the food, and a considerable part of the appa- 
ratus employed in producing sound, we shall not be surprised 
at the striking differences in its construction, at those propoi- 
tional developments or contractions of its several parts, which 
determine the faculties and endowments of different animals, 
and their relative rank in the scale of nature. The most con- 
venient position for this important assemblage of organs — 
including the chief means by which we are connected, actively 
or passively, with the external world — must exhibit corres- 
ponding varieties. A situation is required, combining firm- 
ness of support with freedom of motion, a ready communication 
of the senses with their appropriate external objects, and a 
corresponding arrangement of the entrances to the respira- 
tory, digestive, and vocal cavities. The mode in which the 
entire mass is articulated and supported must therefore be 
varied according to the predominance or contraction of the 
various particular organs, as well as in conformity to the atti- 
tude of the animal, and the distribution of other parts, par- 
ticularly the upper limbs. As the proportions of its parts in 
the human subject indicate a predominance of the organ of 
thought, and reflection over the instruments employed in 
external sensation and the supply of merely animal wants, 
* Fauna Suecica ; Preefat. 


which places man at the top of the intellectual scale ; so the 
position of the whole, and the arrangement for its support and 
motion, are calculated, like all the details of organization hitherto 
examined, in reference to his peculiar distinction of the erect 

A very striking difference between man and all other animals 
consists in the relative proportions of the cranium and face ; 
which are indicated in a general but not very accurate manner, 
by the facial line. 

The organs, which occupy most of the face, are those of 
vision, smelling, and tasting, together with the instruments of 
mastication and deglutition. In proportion as these are more 
developed, the size of the face, compared to that of the cranium, 
is augmented. On the contrary, when the brain is large, the 
volume of the cranium is increased in proportion to that of the 
face. The nature and character of each living being must 
depend on the relative energy of its animal propensities and 
functions, its feelings, and mental powers : its leading traits 
will be derived from those which are most predominant. This 
is sufficiently evinced in the human species ; but the differences 
observable between one man and another are fewer and less 
strongly marked than those which occur betv/een animals of 
different species. 

The brain being the organ, by which the impressions on the 
external senses are combined and compared, in which aU the 
processes called intellectual are carried on, we shall find that 
animals partake in a greater degree, or at least approach more 
nearly to reason, in proportion as the mass of medullary sub- 
stance forming their brain exceeds that which constitutes the 
rest of the nervous system ; or, in other words, in proportion as 
the organ of the mind exceeds those of the senses. Since, then, 
the proportions of the cranium and face indicate those of the 
brain and of the principal external senses and instruments of 
mastication, we shall not be surprised to find that they point out 
to us, in great measure, the general character of animals, the 
degree of instinct and docility which they possess : — hence the 
study of these proportions is of high importance to the naturalist. 
Man combines by far the largest cranium with the smallest 
face : and animals deviate from these relations in proportion as 
they increase in stupidity and ferocity. 

One of the most simple (though often insufficient) methods of 
expressing the relative proportion of these parts is by the course 
of the facial Mne, and the amount of the facial angle. Sup- 


posing a skull to be observed in profile, in the position which it 
would have, when the occipital condyles are at rest in the arti- 
cular hollows of the atlas, in the erect attitude of the body, and 
neither incUned forwards nor backwards, a line drawn from the 
greatest projection of the forehead to that of the upper maxillary 
bone, follows the direction of the face, and is called the facial 
line : the angle, which this forms with a second line, continued' 
horizontally backwards, is the facial angle, and measures the 
relative prominence of the jaws and forehead.* In man only is 
the face placed perpendicularly under the front of the cranium ; 
so that the facial line is perpendicular : hence the angle formed 
between this line and the horizontal one above described is 
most open, or approaches most nearly to a right angle, in the 
human subject. The face of animals is placed in front of 
the cranium instead of under it : that cavity is so diminished 
in size, that its anterior expanded portion or forehead is soon 
lost, as we recede from man. Hence the facial line is oblique, 
and the facial angle is acute ; and it becomes more and more 
so as we descend in the scale from man : in several birds, 
most reptiles and fishes, it is lost altogether, as the cranium 
and face are completely on a level, and form parts of one hori- 
zontal line. 

The idea of stupidity is associated, even by the vulgar, with 
the elongation of the snout ; which necessarily lowers the facial 
line, or renders it more oblique : hence the crane and snipe 
have become proverbial. On the contrary, when the facial line 
is elevated by any cause, which does not increase the capacity 
of the cranium, as in the elephant and owl, by the cells which 
separate the two tables, the animal acquires a particular air of 
intelligence, and gains the credit of qualities which he does not 
in reality possess. Hence the latter animal has been selected 
as the emblem of the goddess of wisdom ; and the former is 
distinguished in the Malay language by a name which indicates 
an opinion that he participates with man in his most distin- 
guishing characteristic, the possession of reason. 

The invaluable remains of Grecian art show that the ancients 
were well acquainted .nth these circumstances. They were 
aware that an elevated facial hue, produced by a great develop- 
ment of the instrument of knowledge and reflection, and a 
corresponding contraction of the mouth, jaws, tongue, nose, 

• See Camper Kleinere Schriften; t. 1. pt. i. pag. 15. Hist. A'at. de I'Orans- 
outang ; Ch. vn ; pi. 1. fig. 3. Dissertation physique sur ks Differences reellet 
que firesentent les Traits du Fisage, SiC 4to. Utrecht, 1791. The course of the 
fionzontal line, and its point of contact witli the facial line, are b}- no means 
uniform in all the figures represented by Camper. 


indicated a noble and generous nature. Hence they have 
extended the facial angle to 90° in the representation of legis- 
lators, sages, poets, and others, on whom they wished to bestow 
the most august character. In the statues of their heroes and 
gods they have still further exaggerated the human and reduced 
the animal characteristics, extending the forehead over the face, 
so as to push the facial line beyond the perpendicular, and to 
make the angle lOQo. 

The facial angle* in the human subject varies from 65° to 
850, speaking of the adult; for in the child it reaches 90°. The 
former is a near approach to the monkey race : the angle may 
be extended beyond the latter, as the Greeks have done in their 
representations of the Deity : here, however, 100° seem to be the 
ne plus ultra : beyond which the proportions of the head would 
appear deformed. That angle, according to Camper, consti- 
tutes the most beautifidf countenance ; and hence he supposes 

• Outline engravings of several human heads and skulls, as well as of a 
monkey, and an orang-outang, in profile, with the lines measuring their facial 
angles, are subjoined to Camper's Dissert, physique. Some are also given in 
Audebert, Hist. Nat. des Singes ; pi. anat. 2. 

The practical application of this measurement is much less extensively use- 
ful and important than Camper had imagined. It merely affurds a striking 
general view of the great characteiistic diilerenee between man and some ani- 
mals, without indicating lo us the diversities of the human species itself, and 
much less those of animMls. In many of the latter, indeed, it does not mea- 
sure the prominence i.f the brain, but that of the frontal sinuses or nose. In 
man and the quadrumanous animals, the sinuses are inconsiderable ; but in 
the carnivora, the pig kind, some ruminants, and particularly in the elephant, 
they are very lariie, and raise the facial line to a degree far beyond what the 
convexity of the brain would do. In the rodentia and the walrus the nose is 
very large, and throws back the cranium so that it offers no point for measure- 
ment in front. 

The following is a statement of the angle in certain animals, taken by 
drawing a line parallel to the floor of the nostrils, and another from the 
greatest prominence of the alveoli to the convexity of the cranium, without 
regarding the outline of the nose and face. 

/■Camper states it at 58° (Diss. phys. pi. 1, f. 2). 
Mr. Abel at 57" {Journey in China, p. 322;. 
vr „, „„»., c~a< In the skull, belonging to the Hunterian col- 
Young orang-outang - b- , ip^tion, when the facial line is drawn from 
the forehead, the angle 50° ; when from the 
V prominent superciliary ridge, BO''. • 

Mastiff — line drawn from the outer surface of 
the cranium - . - - . 30° 

, inner - - ... 41 

Hare 30 

Ram .......30 

Hurse ....... 23 

Cuvier, Leqotis d'Anat. comp. Lect. viii. art. 1. 
■When the facial angles of the anthropo-morphous simia;, as above stated, 
are compared to those of some Negroes, as, for example, the skull delineated 
in pi. vii. which has an anijle of 65°, and that in Sandifort's Museum Acad. 
Zugduno-iiatavum, v. 1, which has nearly the same, we find this method in- 
sutticient, even to distinguish man and animals. An American monkey figured 
by Humboldt (simia melano-cephala) has as good a facial line as the generality 
of Negroes. d'Obs. de Zool. et d' Anat. comp. i. pi. U9. He ascribes to 
it " facies nigra, anthropo-morpha, fero Jithiopis;" p. 317. 

+ That these unnatural proportions may have been selected by the Grecian 
artists in order to convey the preternatural impressions associated with their 

Sapajou ----- 65 

Guei.o" 57 

Mandrill - - . - 42—30 

Coat; 28 

Pole-Ci>t 31 

Pug-dog ..... 35 


the Greeks adopted it. " For," says he, " it is certain no such 
head was ever met with ; and I cannot conceive any such should 
have occurred among the Greeks, since neither the Egyptians, 
from whom they probably descended, nor the Persians, nor the 
Greeks themselves, ever exhibit such a formation on their 
medals, when they are representing the portrait of any real 
character. Hence the ancient model of beauty does not exist 
in nature, but is a thing of imaginary creation : it is what Win- 
KLEMANN calls beuu ideal." 

A vertical section of the head, in the longitudinal direction, 
shows us more completely the relative proportions of the cranium 
and face. In man the area of the section of the cranium is 
nearly four times as large as that of the face : the lower jaw not 
being included. It is, perhaps, about three times as large in the 
orang-ovitang ; twice as large in the sapajous ; and they are 
nearly equal in the baboons and the carnivorous animals, except- 
ing the dogs with short muzzles, such as the pug, where the 
cranium rather exceeds the face. In the hare and marmot the 
face exceeds the cranium by one-third, in the porcupine and 
ruminants by one-half, in the pig kind by a stiU greater propor- 
tion. The face is three times as large as the cranium in the 
hippopotamus, and nearly four times in the horse. 

The human and the brute face are not more strongly con- 
trasted in size, and in their relation to the cranium, than in 
general configuration, in the construction of individual parts, the 
motions and uses to which they are subservient. The latter is 
merely an instrument adapted to procure and prepare food, and 
often a weapon of offence and defence ; the former is an organ of 
expression, an outward index of what passes in the busy world 
within. The elongated and narrow jaws with these muscles, 
with their sharp cutting teeth, or strong pointed and formidable 
fangs, principally compose the face of the animal : the chin, lips, 
cheeks, eye-brows, and forehead, are either removed, or reduced 
to a size and form simply necessary for animal purposes. The 
nose is confounded with the upper jaw and lip: or, if more 
developed, is still applied to offices connected with procuring 
food. Thus we have a muzzle or snout rather than a face. In 
man, on the contrary, the animal organs, the jaws, and teeth, 

notion of supprior natures, and may have been well calculated to produce the 
intended effect, is what I can easily understand. But that proportions, which 
have never existed in nature, should yet constitute, in our estimation, the most 
beautiful (beau) countenance, appears to rae, in that unqualitied statement, 
either an uuraeaning proposition, or inconsistent with any reasonable sense of 
the word beautiful. 


are reduced in size, and covered from view ; hence the mouth is 
extremely small, and neither used, nor capable of use, in directly 
talcing or seizing the aliment. The chin, lips, cheeks, bridge of 
the nose, eyelids, and eyebrows, receive a fulness of development, 
and free play of action, which is seen in no other animal. The 
constant motions of this finely-formed countenance correspond 
with the inward workings and emotions ; and are a most im- 
portant medium of influence and communication with our 
fellow-creatures ; — inviting and attracting them by its expan- 
sion in love, friendship, aflfection, and benevolent feelings ; 
warning and repelling by its fearful contraction in indignation, 
scorn, hatred, malice. When to the human face we add the 
ample and capacious forehead, the organization of the intellectual 
and moral being is perfect ; the contrast with all others, even of 
the manlike class, pointed and complete. How admirably do 
the positions of the face, in the erect attitude of man, and the 
prone posture of brutes, correspond to these striking diflferences 
in construction I 

The want of the intermaxillary bone has been assigned by 
Camper as one of the grand characteristics, which distinguish 
the human head from that of other animals. 

The superior maxillary bones of the human subject are united 
to each other, and contain the whole of the upper series of teeth : 
they are, however, separated in other mammalia by a third bone 
of a wedge shape, which contains the incisor teeth, and was 
therefore called os incisivum. Since, however, this bone is 
found where there are no incisor teeth, as in the horned rumi- 
nants, in the elephant, and the two -horned rhinoceros of Africa, 
and also where there are no teeth at all, as in the ant-eater and 
some of the whale kind, Blumexbach* has bestowed on it the 
more appropriate name of the os intermaxiUare. It is a single 
bone in some cases : in many others, composed of two sym- 
metrical portions. It is connected to the up])er jaw-bone by a 
facial suture, running from the side of the nose to the alveolar 
margin, and by a palatine suture passing transversely from the 
alveoli to the anterior palatine foramina. 

That man possesses nothing analogous to this intermaxillary 
bone of brutes is so clear, that we cannot easUy account for that 
excellent anatomist Vica D'AzYRf ha\'ing discovered any ana- 
logy in the human jaw to the structure of quadrupeds. The 

• De Generis humani Varietate nativa, p. 35. 

+ Memoires de VAcad. des Sciences de Paris, 1780. 


only ground for such an opinion is the small transverse fissure* 
in the palate behind the alveoli of the incisors, observable in the 
fetus and child, and sometimes tolerably distinct in the adult. 
But there is this very obvious and important distinction ; that 
no vestige of suture can ever be traced in the human subject 
between the alveoli, much less on the upper and anterior surface 
of the jaw : so that the similarity to the structure of the quad- 
ruped is very remote. 

That all mammalia, besides the human subject, possess this 
bone is not so decidedly ascertained, as that man has it not. 
BLUMENBACHf fouud uo tracc of it in the crania of some simise, 
although all the sutures were perfect ; yet it is seen in the head 
of the orang-outang (S. satyrus) figured by him, J as well as in 
that of Camper.§ On the contrary, in the head of a very 
anthropo-morphous simia in the museum of the College of Sur- 
geons, which seems to me to be the S. satyrus, not a vestige of 
the sutures separating this bone is to be seen, although the in- 
dividual must have been very young, as the ])ieces of the occi- 
pital bone are not yet consolidated. According to Tyson and 
Daubenton it is not found in the chimpanse. 

However the question may be decided, there can be no doubt 
that the crania of all the quadrumana, as well as of all other 
mammalia, are distinguished from the human skull by the com- 
parative size, great length, and projection of the jaws. 

The articulation of the head with the spine determines the 
mode of its support and extent of motion, the direction of the 
mouth, jaws, eyes, and rest of the face ; it must therefore vary 
according to the construction and relative magnitude of its 
parts, as well as to the ordinary attitude of the bodv. ITie 
position and direction of the great occipital foramen affords a 

* The fissure in question is more distinct in youni; than in old suhjects, and 
it is called by Blumenbach sulura incisiva {Beschreihung der Knochen). Al- 
though overlooked by several modern osteolos,'ists, it was obsei-ved and accu- 
rately described by the great anatomists of the sixteenth century, Vesalius, 
Fallopius, and Columbus. It is also mentioned by Riolan {Aiithropographia, 
p. (549). Galen has expressly enumerated an intermaxillary bone among the 
component parts of the human face ; and Vesalius very justly inferred from 
this, among many equally strilcing proofs, that the anatomical descriptions of 
that author, which had been universally received with the most implicit de- 
ference till that time, had not been drawn from the examination ol the human 
subject. This attempt to rescue mankind from error and prejudice drew upon 
him nothing but hatred and reproaches from his contemporaries, who were 
driven to the most absurd arguments in ileience of their idol Galen. One of 
them suggested that an intermaxillary bone, though not found now, might 
have belonged to the human structure in former times (Jac. Sylvii VejJulsio 
Calumniarum vcsant cujiisdam in Gah'num). 

+ De Gen. hum. Var.7iat. sect. 1, 5 15. 

t Abbildungen n. h. Gegenstande, No. 52. 5 CEuvres, pi. 1, fig. 3. 


criterion of these differences.* The vertebral column being 
vertical in the human subject, affords a solid support for the 
head, which is placed nearly in equilibrio on its upper end. 
Hence the great occipital hole and the articular condyles are 
found almost in the centre of the basis cranii ; and if the vertical 
hue of the trunk and neck were continued upwards, it would 
pass through the top of the head. Consequently the weight of 
the latter is sustained almost entirely by the vertebral column. 

The head would be in a state of perfect equilibrium on the 
spine, in the erect attitude of our body, if the parts in front of 
the column exactly coimterbalanced those behind it. This, how- 
ever, is not the case.f The articular condyles are manifestly 
nearer to the occipital tuberosity than to the most prominent 
point of the jaws ; and thus the greater share of the weight is 
in front of the joint. Place the occipital condyles on any point 
of support, and the head will incline forwards, unless it be held 
in equilibrio by a force applied behind. The preponderance is 
greater when the lower jaw is added, and it is stiU further 
increased by the accession of the tongue, muscles, and other 
soft parts. 

The inclination of the head forwards is counteracted in the 
living body by the extensor muscles, and their constant exertion 
is necessary for maintaining the head in equilibrio on the verte- 
bral column. Whenever their contraction is suddenly suspended, 
as in a person falling asleep in the erect attitude with the head 

* Daubenton sur la Difference du grand Trou occipital dans I'Homme et dans 
les autres ArtimaHX ; Mem. de VJcad. des Sciences, 1764. 

+ I am unfortunate enough to differ with the author of the Physiological 
Lectures, in matters of fact as much as in matters of opinion. To the following 
assertion I can only oppose the circumstances mentioned in the text. " The 
condyles are placed so exactly parallel to the centre of gravity, that when we sit 
upright, and go to sleep in that posture, the weight of the head has a tendency 
to preponderate eqnalhj in every direction, as we see in those who are dozin" in 
a carriage. Nay, their heads sometimes revolve in a circle, like the heaiT of 
harlequin on the stage." Lect. 3. The second e.xpression marked in italics 
cannot he taken literally; because inequality is essential to preponderance; 
and an equal preponderance in every direction, if we disregard the contradic- 
tion in terms, is just equivalent to no preponderance at all. If the author 
means to assert that the weight behind, exactly counterbalances that in front 
of the occipito-atloidal articulation, the easy trial of supporting a skull by the 
condyles will quickly show whether such a representation be correct or not. 

An analogous representation occurs in the same lecture respecting the dis- 
tribution of weight in the trunk of the body. " We know that in an upright 
posture the whole weight of the upper part of the body is so perfectly balanced 
on the base of the vertebral column, as to have an equal propensit3- to prepon- 
derate in every direction. ' ' 

The weight of the head, of the thoracic and abdominal viscera, and the or. 
dinary position of the upper limbs, carry the centre of gravity in front of tho 
spine. The tendency of the trunk to fall forwards is counteracted by the great 
extensor muscles of the loins and back. The hip-joints are carried forwards, 
and the feet prolonged in front of the ankle, m order to secure the body 
against the consequences of this preponderance in the anterior direction, the 
natural effect of which is seen by our falling forwards when muscular action 
is suddenly suspended iu fainting. 



unsupported, that part, abandoned to .the force of gravity, 
immediately nods forwards. 

The greatest number, and by far the most powerful muscles 
are placed at the back of the head, and pass between the posterior 
surface of the vertebral column and the occipit. The recti 
postici, obliqui superiores, trachelomastoidei, complexi, splenii 
capitis and trapezii are balanced by few and inconsiderable mus- 
cles in front ; by the recti antici, recti laterales, and longi colli. 

Let a line be drawn according to the plane of the occipital 
foramen ; it will pass from the posterior edge along the surface 
of the condyles, and, if continued anteriorly, will come out just 
under the orbits. It forms, in short, almost a horizontal line, 
which intersects, nearly at right angles, the vertical line of the 
body and neck, when the head is held straight, without being 
inclined backwards or forwards. 

In this attitude, the face is in a vertical line, parallel to that 
of the body and neck ; and consequently the jaws hardly extend 
in front beyond the forehead. They are very short in comparison 
with those of most animals : for the length of the lower maxillary 
bone of man, measured from the chin to the posterior edge of 
the condyle, is only half the length of the whole head, as taken 
from the chin to the occiput ; and scarcely the ninth part of the 
height of the body from the anus to the vertex : and about the 
eighteenth part of the whole length of the body from the top of 
the head to the feet. This latter point of comparison is, how- 
ever, scarcely applicable to the subject ; inasmucli as there is 
hardly any animal but man, which has the hind legs as long as 
the trunk, neck, and head taken togetiier, and measured from 
the vertex to the pubes. 

The horizontal plane of the foramen magnum, its nearly cen- 
tral position in the basis of the skull, the support of the head 
by the spine, and the direction of the face forwards, are admirably 
suited to the erect attitude of man, and correspond to the absence 
of the ligamentum nvichse. If the human spine were placed 
horizontally, how could the weight of the head be sustained ? 
there is no adequate muscular power to support and elevate the 
heavy mass ; not to mention that it could not be carried suffi- 
ciently backwards on the spine, for the eyes to be directed for- 
wards ; and that, if lowered, the jaws would not come to the 
ground, as they do in animals, in consequence of their shortness, 
but the forehead or vertex would touch it.* 

• The absence of the rete mirabile, and of all analogous provision for mo- 
derating the influx of the blood into the brain, accords, with the other eircum- 


In most animals, the great occipital foramen is placed at the 
back of the head ; the jaws are considerably elongated ; the oc- 
ciput forms no projection beyond this opening, the plane of 
which is vertical, or at least very slightly inclined. Hence, the 
head is connected to the neck by its back part, instead of being 
articulated, as in man, by the middle of its basis ; and, instead 
of being in equilibrium on a perpendicular column placed under 
it, it hangs to the front of the neck, where its weight is sustained 
by the powerful cer\ical ligament.* This arrangement bestows 
on quadrupeds the power of using their jaws for seizing what is 
before them ; of elevating them to reach what may be above the 
head, although the l)ody be placed horizontally ; and of touch- 
ing the ground with the mouth, by depressing the head and 
neck as low as the feet. In several animals there is some dis- 
tance between the foramen magnum and the posterior extremity 
of the occiput ; but this interval is no where so considerable as 
in the human subject ; and in proportion as it is increased, does 
the direction of the occipital foramen approach more to the 
horizontal one. 

Animals of the monkey kind exhibit a closer resemblance of 
the human structure, in the position and direction of the occi- 
pital foramen, than any others. In the orang-outang it is twice 
as far from the jaws, as from the back of the head ;t and it is 
considerably inclined downwards, so that a line drawn in its 
level passes below the lower jaw, instead of going just under the 
orbit, as in man. 

The diiference in the direction of the foramen may be esti- 
mated, by noting the angle formed by the union of a hne drawn 
in the manner above-mentioned, according to the direction of 

stances enumerated above, in showing that man is entirely unfit for the atti- 
tude on all fours. 

* The ligamentum nuchae or suspensorium colh, which is confounded in the 
Physiological Lectures {"p. UG), witii the yellow liiaraents connecting the plates 
of the spinous processes, is affixed at one end of the spines of the cervical and 
dorsal vertebrae, and at the other to the middle of the occiput, between the 
two fossa; cerebelli. This thick and powerfnl Hsament affords a steady and 
conslant support to the head of quadrupeds, whicli would have otherwise 
needed an immense mass of muscles to sustain it. Such a structure is not re- 
quired in man, where, if this ligament can be said to e.xist at all, it is only as a 
weak and insigniftoant rudiment. I do not know how the oran^-outan" and 
other monkeys are circumstanced in this respect. Camper, however, states 
that the spinous processes of the cervical vertebras are very long in the oran"- 
outang {CEurres, i. p. 12G). And the same circumstance is stilf more remark- 
able -n the skeleton of the pongo of Batavia, whose enormous jaws and face 
must require the support of a suspensory ligament, probably attached in both 
animals to the cervical spines. Audebert, Hist. Nat. des Singes; pi. anat. 2. 

t The effect of this structure in throwing the centre of gravity forwards', and 
thus increasing the difficulty of maintaining the erect position, is particularly 
pointed out by Mr. Abel ; Joamey in China, p. 322. 

G 2 


the opening, with another line passing from the posterior edge 
of the foramen to the inferior margin of the orbit. Tliis angle 
is of 30 in man, and of 37° in the orang-outang ; 47° in the 
lemur. It is stiU greater in the dog ; and in the horse it is of 
900 or a right angle, the plane of the opening being completely 

The distance of the foramen magnum from the front of the 
jaws and the posterior surface of the occiput may be in man 
respectively, as f and §, or even more nearly equal : the former 
is twice as great as the latter in the orang-outang ; while, in 
almost all other mammalia, the opening is at the very posterior 
aspect of the skull. 

The teeth of man are distinguished by being all of one length, 
and by the circumstance of their being arranged in an uniform 
unbroken series. The cuspidati are a little longer than the 
others at first ; but their sharp points are soon worn down to a 
level with the rest. In all animals the teeth of different classes 
differ in size and length, often very considerably ; and they are 
separated by more or less wde intervals : this is particularly the 
case with the teeth caUed canine, or cuspidati, which are long, 
prominent, and distinct from the neighbouring teeth : their not 
projecting beyond the rest, nor being separated from them by 
any interval, is, therefore, a very characteristic circumstance in 
the human structure Even in the simiae, whose masticatory 
apparatus most nearly resembles that of man, the cuspidati are 
longer, often very considerably longer than the other teeth ; and 
there are intervals in the series of each jaw to receive the cuspi- 
dati of the other. 

The inferior incisors are perpendicular ; the teeth, indeed, and 
the front of the jaw are placed in the same vertical line. In 
animals, these teeth slant backwards, and the jaw slopes back- 
wards directly from the alveoh ; so that the full prominent chin, 
so remarkable a feature in the face of our species, is found in no 
animal, not even in the orang-outang : it appears as if the part 
were cut off. 

The obtuse tubercles of the grinders are again very peculiar 
and characteristic : they are worthy of particular remark, be- 
cause, being the great instruments of dividing the food, they 
correspond to the kind of nourishment which the animal natu- 
rally takes. Their surface does not resemble the flat crowns 
with rising ridges of intermixed enamel belonging to our com- 
mon herbivorous animals : nor are they like the cutting an' 


tearing grinders of the carnivora. But they are well adapted to 
that mixed diet prepared by the arts of cookery, which man has 
always resorted to, when he could get it, and when his natural 
inclinations have not been thwarted by the interference of reli- 
gious scruples or prohibitions, nor opposed by his own whims 
and fancies. 

The lower jaw of man is distinguished by the prominence of 
the chin, a necessary consequence of the inferior incisors being 
perpendicular ; by its shortness,* and by the oblong convexity 
and obliquity of the condyles. 


Differences between Man and Animals in Stature, Proportions, and sorw 
other Points. 

The height of the whole body, and the proportion of its several 
parts, afford important points of comparison in examining the 
specific differences between man and the most anthropo- 
morphous simise. 

The difference of stature is remarkable : of the orang-outangs 
or chimpanses hitherto brought into Europe, none has been 
more than three feet high ; and most have been several inches 
under that height. The individual brought to England by Mr. 
Abel, and now at Exeter Change, is thirty-one inches. -f- Of 
eight seen by Camper | none exceeded two feet and a half 
(Rhynland measure) : from observing the state of the teeth, and 
progress of ossification, and estimating, according to the human 
subject, the additions which the stature might be expected to 
receive, he thinks that their adult height may be set down at 
four feet of the same measure. F. Cuvier§ makes it considerably 
less. Yet they are spoken of, on the faith of travellers, as being 
five or six feet high, or even more : what is said of their erect 
gait, and many other particulars, is probably of equal accuracy. 

Tyson's chimpanse, measured twenty-six inches from the 
vertex to the heel. || 

The great length of the upper limbs, the predominance of the 

• The length of the inferior maxilla is J of that of the trunk from the vertex 
to the anus, in the simia satyrus ; it is ^ in man. 

The elephant is equally remarkable with man for the shortness of the lower 
jaw, of which a considerable portion projects in front of the teeth. This can- 
not jiroperly be deemed a chin. The incisors and cuspidati do not exist in the 
lower jaw of this animal ; the projection in question is the part, which in 
other cases is occupied by those teeth. 

+ Journey in China; 322. % Qiutres; I. 51. 

} .iiinales da Museum ; xvi. 51, jl Anat. of a Pygmie, 1.3. 


fore-arm over tlie upper arm, the shortness of the lower limba, 
and the great length of the hands and feet, are other striking 
characters of the monkey kind. 

The span of the extended arms in man equals the height of 
the body; it is nearly double that measure in the anthropo- 
morphous monkeys. Our upper arm is longer than the fore- 
arm by two or three inches ; in the last-mentioned animals tbe 
fore-arm is the longest. In us the hip-joint divides the body 
equally ; the lower extremity is less than half the height of the 
body in monkeys. The proportion of the hand and foot to the 
body is much greater in them than in us ; the excess arising 
from increase in the length of the phalanges. That all these 
circumstances are very suitable to the climbing habits of the 
monkey race, is too obvious to require particular elucidation. 

In the follo\ving table, I have arranged in parallel lines, the 
dimensions of some parts of a male skeleton, of the orang-outang 
measured by Camper, of that described by Mr. Abel, and of 
Tyson's chimpanse. 

Man. Simia Satyrus. Simla Tro- 

Inches. Camper. Abel. gludytes. 

The whole body from the j ^i 

vertex to the heel 
Upper extremity 

Fore-arm (ulna) 

Middle finger 
Foot . 
Middle toe . 

Uncertain, but > 
less tlian . J 

16 j 


24i , 
IG . 

81 , 


7 , 







6 7-10th3 





In a monkey of two feet two inches the humerus measured 
four and a quarter, the ulna five inches. 

The upper extremities of the pongo* of Borneo reach to the 
ankles, when the animal is erect : its ulna, in the College 
Museum, is 15j inches long; the whole height certainly not 
exceeding five feet. The man, whose gigantic skeleton is pre- 
served in the same ])lace, was eight feet four inches ; the ulna, 
however, is only 13f inches. 

The upper limbs of the gibbon touch the ground when the 
animal is erect. 

* Audebert, Ilist. ISSat. des Singes ; Planche anat. 2, fig. G. The short de- 
scription of this animal, which, from the enormous size and strength of his 
jaws, must be extremely furmidable, given by Wurmb in the second vol. of 
ihe Memuirs of the Batarnan Society in Dutch, is translated ia the work of Au- 
debert, pp. 'ii, 23. It is the first and only description we have of the animal, 
lUiflbn, who had never seen this creature, nor any part of it, gives tlie name 
of pongo to the orang-outang. 


Passing over some circumstances of less importance, ordinarily 
enumerated among the distinctive characters of man, as the 
lobules of the ear, the tumid lips, particularly the inferior, &c. 
I have a few remarks to make on the smoothness of the human 
integuments. " Dantur," says Linneus,* " alicubi terrarum, 
simiae minus quam homo pilosae ; " but he does not tell us in 
what part of the world they are to be found. The unanimous 
reports of all travellers, as well as the specimens of such animals 
exhibited in Europe, prove incontestably, that the manlike simiag, 
whether the orang-outang of Borneo, or chimpanse of Angola, 
as well as the long-armed monkey or gibbon, are widely different 
from the human subject in this respect. Although the indivi- 
duals brought into these countries have been under the adult 
age, and generally very sickly, their body has been in all cases 
universally hairy. We have, indeed, some accounts of people, 
particularly in the islands of the South Sea, remarkable for their 
hairiness ; but they are not completely satisfactory. Spangberg 
relates, that he found such a race in one of the southern Kurile 
islands Gat. 43° 50") on his return from Japan to Kamtschatka : f 
and J. R. Forster observed individual anomalous instances in 
the islands of Tanna, MallicoUo, and New Caledonia. X It was 
reported to Mr. Marsden, when inquiring concerning the 
aborigines of Sumatra, that there are two species living in the 
woods, with i>eculiar language ; one of these (called orang-gugu) 
was described as " differing but little in the use of speech from 
the orang-outang of Borneo, their bodies being covered with 
long hairs." § 

These accounts furnish no satisfactory proof that any race|| 

• Fauna Suecica ; prtrf. + Ritssisc/ier Geschichte ; T. III. p. 174. 

t " I observed several of these people (the Mallicollese), who were very- 
hairy all over the body, not excepting the back ; and this circumstance I also 
observed in Tanna and New Caledonia." Observations on a Voyage round the 
ff'orld, p. 243. That this hairiness is neither common to all the natives of the 
islands enumerated, nor even very frequent or remarkable in accidental cases, 
may be inferred from its not being at all noticed by Cook, who however de- 
scribes minutely the persons of these islanders. Voy. towards the South Pole, 
V. ii. pp. 34, 78, 118. 

{ History of Sumatra, ed. 3, p. 41, note. 

II The skin, like other parts, is subject to occasional varieties of formation. 
Tlius patches of it are sometimes thickly covered with hair, like that on the 
head. Such accidental varieties, exaggerated by credulit}' and fraud, have 
given occasion to reports of persons having hides like animals. Buffon {Sup- 
plement, V. 4, p. 571), Wuusch {Kosmolugische Unterhaliungen, part 3), andLa- 
vater [Physiog. Fragm. part 4, p. 68,) have given figures and descriptions of 
A. M. Herriu:, a woman of Triers, said to have the skin of a deer, and shown 
in many parts of Europe. Soemmerring saw this person, and found the pe- 
culiarity to consist of numerous and large elevations of the skin, covered by 
thick and strong hairs. They were of the nature of the moles often seen on 
the face of very fair persons, and generally giving origin to hairs. He could 
not discover a single hair resembling that of a deer. Beschreibung einiger Miss- 
geburten, p. 34. 


of men exists with a skin differently organized or covered from 
what we are acquainted with. The smoothness and nakedness 
of the human integuments therefore form a sufficient diagnostic 
character of our species, as compared to the monkey, or any 
other nearly allied raammiferous animal ; and this circumstance, 
with the absence of all fur, s])ines, bristles, scales, &c. and the 
want of those natural ott'ensive weapons, fangs, talons, claws, 
&c. justify us in denominating the human body as naturally 
unarmed and defenceless. The deficiency is amply made up by 
the internal faculties, and the arts to which they give rise. 

While man is remarkable for the smoothness of his skin on 
the whole, some parts are even more covered with, hair than in 
animals, as for example, the pubes and axilla, which the ancients 
consequently regarded as peculiar characters of man. 

In comparing man^vith the anthropo-morphous simiaeitmust 
be noticed further, that one species (satyrus) has no nail on the 
thumb of the hind-hand ; and the other (troglodytes), according 
to Tyson, has thirteen ribs. Both of them have a sacrum 
composed of three pieces only, instead of five, as in the human 
subject. One at least (satyrus) has one or two large membraneous 
pouches on the front of the neck, under the platysma myoides, 
communicating with the cavity of the larynx, between the os 
hyoides and th}Toid cartilage, and capable of distention and 
evacuation at the will of the animal.* It has no ligamentum teres 
In the hip-joint, f It has a membraneous canal running along 
the spermatic cord from the abdomen to the tunica vaginalis, | 
as other monkeys and quadrupeds have ; but this does not exist 
in the cliimpanse. § The roof of the mouth is nearly black 

I venture to assert that the differences only, which have been 
just enumerated, without any others, would be amply sufficient 
to establish the distinction of species : that no example can be 
adduced of animals deviating so far from the original model of 
their structure as to exhibit varieties like those just enumerated ; 
and consequently that the differences in question can be accounted 
for only by referring the animals to species originally distinct. 

Tliere are some points, in which man has been erroneously 
supposed to differ from animals. Tlie approximation of the two 
eyes is not peculiar ; they are much nearer together in the simiae. 

• Camper, in Philos. Trans, v. 69, p. 139. CEuvres ; t. 1. De I'Orang, ch. ii. 
pi. ii. fig. 9 and 10, To the passage of the air in e.xpiration into these pouches. 
Cam per ascribes the want of power of the orang-outang to produce articulated 

T Camper, CEuvres, i. 153. t Iljid. 109. \ Tyson, p. 82. 


Many other mammalia, particularly among the quadrumana, 
have cilia in both eyelids : this is the case in the elephant. 

Although the prominent nose is a striking character of the 
human face, particularly in comparison with the monkeys, 
whose very name (simia, from simus) is derived from the flatness 
of this part, there is a species considerably surpassing man in 
the length of this feature ; — the long-nosed monkey, S. rostrata, 
or nasahs.* 

The external ears are not incapable of motion in all men ; nor 
are they moveable in all other mammalia ; in the ant-eaters, fov 

Many quadrumana have an organ of touch, and an uvala, as 
well as man. 

Again, there are some parts, which man alone, or with a few 
other mammaha, does not possess. Most of these, which are 
found chiefly in the domesticated kinds, were formerly attri- 
buted to man, when hvunan dissections, from want of opportuni- 
ties, were uncommon. 

The panniculus camosus; or thin subcutaneous stratum of 
muscular fibres covering the ventral and lateral parts of the 
trunk immediately under the skin, described by Galen and his 
followers, and even by Vesalius, the great restorer of anatomy 
and exposer of Galen's errors, as a part of the human body, 
does not exist in man, nor according to Tyson, in the chimpanse. 
It is found in the monkeys. 

The rete mirabile of the cerebral arteries, included by Galen 
among the parts of the human body, was shown by Vesalius 
not to belong to the human structure. 

The seventh or suspensory muscle of the eyeball, which is 
found in the four-footed mammalia, is not seen in man, as 
Fallopius observed : neither is the aUantois or membrana 

That man has neither the ligamentum nuchse nor the inter- 
maxillary bone, has been already explained. The foramen 
incisivum is common to the human species with quadrupeds ; it 
is small and single in the former ; double and of considerable 
size in the latter. 

There are a few other parts, not found in many animals, and 

• Bufifon, Hist, des Quadrupedes ; Sitpplm.. t. vii. tab. 11, 12. The animal is 
also fit^uved hy Blumenhach, ^bhildunaen; No. 13 ; and by Pennant, Htitory 
of Quadrupeds, V. 2. p. 322, pi. 104 and 105, under the name of proboscis mon- 
key. The nostrils of this proboscis do not terminate, as in man, close to the 
upper Up ; but at the extremity of the prominence ; and the structure, ia 
other respects, differs essentially from that of the human nose. 

G 3 


sometimes erroneously ascribed to man : such as the pancreas 
Asellii, hepatico-cystic ducts, corpus Highmori, &c. 


Differences in the Structure of some internal Organs. 

The instrument of knowledge and reflection, the part by which 
we feel, perceive, judge, think, reason, the organ or organs 
connecting vis with the external world, and executing the moral 
and intellectual department in our economy, claim our first 
attention. In spite of metaphysical subtlety, of all the chimeras 
and fancies about immaterial agencies, ethereal fluids, and the 
like, and all the real or pretended alarms so carefully connected 
Avith this subject, the truth, that the phenomena of mind are to 
be regarded physiologically merely as the functions of the 
organic apparatus contained in the head, is proved by such over- 
whelming ondence, that physiologists and zoologists have been 
led, almost in spite of themselves, to show their belief in it, by 
the great attention they have paid to this part. 

The vast superiority of man over all other animals in the 
faculties of the mind, which may be truly considered as a 
generic distinction of the human subject — in my opmion a more 
unequivocal and important one than many of those, in com- 
pliance with which, diversity of genus and species is established 
in the animal kingdom — led physiologists at a very early period 
to seek for some corresponding diflTerence in the brains of man 
and animals. 

It has been asserted from remote times that the brain of man 
is larger than that of any animal ; and I know no exception to 
this assertion of Aristotle and Pliny besides the elej^hant : 
unless the larger cetacea should b^e as well supplied with brain, 
in proportion to their size, as the smaller. Certainly all the 
larger animals, with which we are more commonly acquainted, 
have brains absolutely smaller, and considerably so, than that of 
man. This, indeed, may be easily shown by a comparison of 
skulls ; by contrasting the compressed, narrow, elongated crania 
of brutes, hidden behind their enormous jaws and face, with the 
length, breadth, and ample vault of the human " cerebri taber- 
naculum,"* whose capacious globular expanse surmounts and 
covers the inconsiderable receptacles of the senses and ali- 
mentary apparatus. 

• Haller. 


In later times the subject has been investigated in a different 
way ; — by comparing the proportion which the mass of the brain 
bears to the whole body. The result of this comparison in the 
more common and domestic animals was deemed so satisfactory, 
that, without prosecuting the inquiry further, a general propo- 
sition was laid down, that man has the largest brain in propor- 
tion to his body. More modern physiologists, however, in 
following up this comparative view in a greater number of ani- 
mcds, have been considerably perplexed at discovering many 
exceptions to the genersd jx)sition. They found that several 
mammalia, as the dolphin, seals, some quadrumana, and som.e 
animals of the mouse kind, equal the human subject, and that 
some small birds even exceed him in this respect.* 

As these latter obser\'ations entirely overturned the conclusion, 
which had been before generally admitted, Soemmerring has 
furnished us \vith another point of comparison ; viz. that of the 

* It cannot be a very satisfactory mode of proceeding to compare the bodj', 
of which the weight varies so considerably according to illness, emaciation, 
or embonpoint, with the brain, which is afFected by none of these circum- 
stances, and seems to remain constantly the same. Thus in the cat, the weight 
of the brain, compared to that of the body, has been stated as 1 to 156, by one 
anatomist ; as 1 to 82 by another ; that of the dog, as 1 to SO."}, 1 to 47, &c. The 
following numbers, taken principally from Haller {Element. Physiol, lib. x. 
sect. 1.) and Cuvier (Leqons d'.^nat. comp. Lee. i.x. art. 5,, will show that in 
the proportionate mass of his brain, man is surpassed only by a few small, 
slender, and lean animals. 

Child of 6 years, 2 lb. 284dr. ; or ^. Haller. 

Adult, a'j. Haller. From 2 lb. 3i oz. to 31b. 3|oz. Soemmerring. 

Chimpans^, of 26 inches in height, 11 oz. 7 dr. Tyson. 
A proportion equal to the human. 

Gibbon (S. Lar. ), •^. 
Sapajous, or American monkej"s with prehensile tails. 

Saimiri (S. sciurea), ■^■, Sa'i (S. capucina), -^V; Ouistiti (S. jacchus), ■^• 

Coaita (S. paniscus), -^. 
Apes. — Malbrouc (S. faunus), -irg:; Callitriche (S. sabsea) and Patas {S. ru- 
bra), -^ ; (S. mona), -^ ; Mangahey (S. fulinigosa), -^• 
Baboons. — Macaque (S. cynomolgus), •^; Magot (S. sylvanus), xWo- 

Great Baboon (S. sphynx), tsT' 
Lemurs. — Mococo (L. catta), ^; Vari (L. macaco), -^^ 

Bat (V. noctula), •^; Mole, ■^; Bear, 5-g-j; Hedgehog, xFs' 

Fox, -jj^j; Wolf, -^w; Martin, 3-57; Ferret, -j-gg-. 

Beaver, 5^ ; Hare, -g^ ; Rabbit, -j-To 13^ > Water-rat, ^-5-4 ; Rat, ^e ' 

Mouse, ■^; Field-mouse,^- 

Wild Boar, ^-7-5- ; Domestic, -gx^ — 4-12 > Elephant, -^^ — 7 or 10 lb. 

Stag, 2^; Roebuck (young), -^ ; Sheep, 3^, yfe ; Ox, tTo' wko- 

Calf, -siv ; Horse, 7-^, TffTj ; Ass, 234* 

Dolphin (delphinus delphis), -j^, -jV' 'Fo' TS^ '< Porpoise (D. phocaena), ^. 
Birds.— Esig\e, s^; Falcon, yfe : Goose, awo (Haller); Duck, aTf; Cock, 

^; Blackbird, 7<V ; Redbreast, -g^ ; ChatKnch, gV 5 a Fringilla, carefully- 
weighed and examined by Haller, 2V ; Sparrow, -^ ; Canary-bird, y^- 
Reptiles. — Turtle, -s-rrs ; Tortoise, -oaVo 5 Coluber-uatrix, rs^! Fros,v^5« 
Fishes. — Shark, 24s 6 ! Dog-fish, TaT* '> Pike, rsW ; Carp, tTo* 


ratio, which the mass of the brain bears to the bulk of the ner^'es 
arising from it. Let us divide the brain into two parts ; that 
which is immediately connected with the sensorial extremities of 
the nerves, which receives their impressions, and is therefore 
devoted to those common wants and purposes, which may be 
considered as the seat of the mental phenomena. 

In proportion, then, as any animal possesses a larger share of 
the latter and more noble part ; that is, in proportion as the 
organ of reflection exceeds that of the external senses, may we 
expect to find the powers of the mind more diversified and more 
fully developed. In this point of view man is decidedly pre- 
eminent : although in his senses and common animal properties 
he holds only a middle rank, here he surpasses all other animals 
that have been hitherto investigated ; he is the first of living 
beings. "All the simise," says this accomplished anatomist, 
" for I have been fortunate enough to procure specimens of the 
four principal divisions, come after him. ; for, although the pro- 
portion of their brain to the body, particularly in the small 
species with prehensile tails, is equal to that of man, their very 
large eyes, ears, tongue, and jaws, require a much larger mass 
of brain than the corresponding parts in the human subject ; and 
if you remove this, the ratio of the brain to the body is much 

" Animals of various kinds seem to me to possess a larger or 
smaller quantity of this superabundant portion of brain accord- 
ing to the degree of their sagacity and dociUty. The largest 
brain of a horse, which I possess, weighs one pound seven 
ounces ; the smallest human brain that I have met with in an 
adult, two pounds five ounces and a quarter. But the nerves 
in the basis of the horse's brain are ten times larger than in the 
other instance, although it weighs less by fourteen ounces and 
a quarter. 

" But we are not hastily to conclude that the human species 
have smaller nerves than any other animals. In order that my 
ideas may be better understood, I shall state the following 
imaginary case. Suppose the ball of the eye to require 600 
nervous fibrils in one instance, and in another, half the size, 
300 ; further, that the animal with 600 fibrils possesses a 
brain of seven, and that with 300 a brain of only five drams. 
To the latter we ought to ascribe the larger brain, and 

• Blumenbach has figured the brain of tlie ribbed-nose baboon or mandrill 
(papio mairaun) in the two first editions of his work, De Gen. Hum. Var. nat. 
tab. 1, fig. 1. The deviation from the human character in the size of the nerves 
is very striking. 


a more ample capacity of registering the impressions made 
on the organ of vision. For, allowing one dram of en- 
cephalon to 100 fibrils, the brain, which is absolutely the least, 
will have an overplus of two drams, while the larger has only 
one. That the eye, which is supplied with a double quantity of 
fibrils, may be a more perfect organ of sense, will be readily 
admitted : but that point is not connected with the present* 

Independently of weight and size, Soemmerring observed 
fifteen visible material anatomical differences between the brain 
of the common tailless ape and that of man.f 

It must be acknowledged that the inquiries into the relative 
weight of the brain and the body, and the comparison between 
the former and the nerves connected with it, have not yet af- 
forded any precise and clear information respecting the diffe- 
rences between man and animals, nor on the grounds of the infi- 
nitely various faculties that distinguish different animals. It 
can hardly be expected that these matters wiU receive any clear 
elucidation, while we continue so ignorant as at present of the 
functions executed by the different parts of the encephalon. 

The basis of the position so much insisted on by Soemmer- 
ring is an assumption, that a certain bulk of nerve requires 
always the same proportion of brain for the execution of its 
office — a datum by no means self-evident. The comparison of 
the nerves to the brain in general is not satisfactory ; we should 
wish to know the relative proportions of the cerebrum, cerebel- 
lum, and medulla oblongata. The latter, indeed, is an impor- 
tant point, as most of the nerves are immediately connected with 
.it, few with the cerebrum, and none with the cerebellum, pro- 
perly so called. 

The most striking character of the human brain is the prodi- 
gious development of the cerebral hemispheres, to which no ani- 
mal, whatever ratio its whole encephalon may bear to its body, 
affords any prjrallel. J 

It is also the most perfect in the number and development of 

* Uc'ber die kurperliche Verschicdenheit des Nepers rom Europaer ; p. 63 67. 

See also the dissertation of the same &\iXhor Ve Basi Encppliali ; and J. G. 
Ebel Obs. neurol. ex Jlnat. comparata, p. 17; Fraucoi". ad Viadr. 1788; or in 
Ludwii; Scriptores neurologtci. 

t Ueber die kiirp. VeTsch. p. 77, note. 

X On this point I apprehend, from the following passage, that the Wenzels 
agree with what is stated in the text : " Homini pro ratione longe plus massse 
cerebri inesse, quam mammalibus, sive illam massa; cerebri partem, quae in 
interiore cerebro sitas, peculiariter formatas, sive individuas partes ambit, in 
nomine pro ratione majorem esse, quam in mammalibus. " De penitiori Struct, 
Cerebri Hominis et Brutorum, p, 369. 


Its parts ; none being found in any animal, which man has not ; 
while several of those found in man are either reduced in size, 
or deficient in various animals. Hence it has been said, that by 
taking away, diminishing, or changing proportions, you might 
form, from the human brain, that of any animal : while, on the 
contrary, there is none from which you could in like manner 
construct the brain of man. 

It approaches the most nearly to the spherical figure. That 
the nerves are the smallest in proportion to the brain, has been 
already pointed out : the brain diminishes and the nerves in- 
crease from man downwards. In the foetus and child the nerves 
are proportionally larger than in the adult. 

The assertion that it has the largest cerebrum in proportion 
to the cerebellum * does not seem to be quite correct. It has, 
however, the largest cerebrum in proportion to the medulla ob- 
longata and spinalis t> with the single and indeed singular 
exception of the dolphin. 

It has the deepest and most numerous convolutions, appa- 
rently in consequence of its size, as the purpose of this structure 
seems to be that of affording a more extensive surface for the 
application of the vascular membrane, the pia mater. The con- 
volutions become fewer and shallower as the brain diminishes in 
size ; there are none in the rodentia ; none in very small brains 

It has the greatest quantity of medullary substance in propor- 
tion to the cortical. In the foetus the cortical is much more 
abundant than in the adult. 

SoEMM ERRING has sho\vn that that curious structure, the 

* The following numbers indicate the comparative weights of the cerebrum 
and cerebellum. 


. 1-9 

S. Mona . 


Beaver . 

. 1—3 

Wild Boar . 


Sai'miri . 

. 1-14 

Dog . . 



. 1— 3i 

Cow . . . 


Sai . . 

. 1— f; 

Cat . . . 


Mouse . 

. 1—3 

Slieep . . . 


Magot . 

. 1—7 

Mole . . 


Hare . 

, 1—6 

Horse. . . 



. 1—7 

Cuvier, Leq. d'Anat. comp. ii. 153. 

The Wenzels, whose accuracy seems to deserve the greatest confidence, re- 
present some of these proportions differently. They have found the cere- 
brum, compared to the cerebellum, to be, in man, as 6-5^5^—8-5^; to 1 ; in the 
horse, 4i to 1 ; cow, 5 ^1 1 to 1 ; dog, 6^ to 1 ; cat, 4y5 to 1 ; mole, 3§ to 1 ; 
mouse, 6f to 1. Lib. cit. tab. iv. 

t The breadth of the medulla oblongata behind the pons Varolii, compared 
to the greatest breadth of the brain, is. 
In Man as 1—7 

Simia sinica (Bonnet } -i_a 
Chinois) i ^~* 

S. Cynomolgus . . 1 — 5 

Dog . . . 6— 11 or 3— 8 

Pig . . 
.Sheep . 
Roe. . 

. . 8-22 
3— 8— 1—3 
. . 5—7 
. . 5—7 
. . 1—3 

Cow . . 
Calf . . 
Horse , . 
Dolphin . 

In the latter animal the breadth of the brain is twice its length : 
tion of which there is no other instance in the animal kingdom. 

. . 5-13 

. . 2-^ 

. . 8-21 

. . 1-13 

-a proper ^ 


sandy or earthy matter of the pineal gland (acervnlus pinealis), 
belongs to the healthy natural state of the human brain, being 
found from the fourteenth year, and that it is almost con- 
fined to man *. He found it, however, once in the fallow-deer 
(cer\ais dama) ; and Malacakne f met with it in the goat. 
An instance communicated by Caldani, of an old man, in 
whose brain it was deficient, is regarded by Blumenbach X 
as a rare anomaly of structure §. 

The position of the heart in biped man differs from that which 
it holds in quadrupeds. Its oblique direction to the left side, its 
fiat surface resting on the diaphragm, and the firm attachment 
of its serous membrane to the tendinous centre of that muscle, 
present, in the former, a contrast to its straight situation in the 
middle of the chest, to its support on the sternum, and to the 
want of attachment between the pericardium and muscle, which 
are even separated by a distinct interval in the latter ; a contrast 
easUy explained by the differences in the form of the thorax, and 

• De LapilUs vcl prope vel intra Glandulam pinealem sitis ; Mogunt. 1785. 

t Eiicefalotomia d'alcuni Quadrupedi, p. 31. 

t De g. h. var. nat. p. 44. From the very accurate researches of the Wenzels, 
it appears that a deficiency of the acervulus is not so unfrequent as had been 
represented by Soemmerring ; and they found, on the other hand, that the 
latter excellent anatomist has not been correct in fixing the fourteenth year as 
the date of its earliest appearance ; they have met witli it from the age of 
seven. They mention six instances, in which thp acervulus did not exist. De 
peniliori Ulructura Cerebri Hominis et Brutorum, Tubingte, fol. 1812, p. 316. 

\ The human encephalon undergoes considerable changes after birth, in its 
entire mass. In the proportions of its parts, and in the texture and consistency 
of its substance. The gradual evolution of the mental faculties corresponds to 
these alterations; which, indeed, accord with the slow development of the 
human frame in other respects. The Wenzels have afibrded accurate infor- 
mation on some points. In an embrj'o of live months they found a brain of 
720 grains ; cerebrum of 683; cerebellum of 37, which is a ratio of the former 
to tlie latter as 18^ to 1 : at eight montlis the numbers were 4960, 4610, 350, 
or, as 13^ to 1 : at the time of birth, as 6150, 5700, 450, or 12f to 1 : at three 
years, 15,340, 13,380, 1860, or 7-^ to 1 : at five years, 20,250, 17,760, 2490, or 
7^^ to 1. From fifteen to eighty-eight the highest numbers occurred in a 
youth of the former age ; they were 24,420, 21,720, 2700, or Syl^ to 1. Tab. 3. 

Soemmerring observes, in the explanation of his Ijeautiful tabula buicos ence- 
■phali, ]). 13, that the human brain has reached its full development at three 
years of age ; the Wenzels affirm that this is not the case till seven, when, they 
observe, " cerebrum hominis et quoad totum et quoad singulas jiartes abso- 
lutum esse videtur. " P. 247. If the perfect state of the brain be considered 
to include the proportionate development of parts, the entire size and weight, 
the consistence and cohesion of the mass, and the state of vascular supply 
characterizing the adult, we must fix as its era a much later period than the 
seventh year. 1 apprehend that the brain of animals will be found nearly 
perfect in its organization at the time of birth ; and, consequently, that a com- 
parison of man and animals in this point of view will disclose a remarkable 
point of distinetiou between them. The medullary striae of the fourth ventricle 
are not seen at birth : their appearance in the first year, and that of the acer- 
vulus in the seventh, are regarded by the Wenzels as great peculiarities of the 
human brain, since that of the mammalia exhibits no such development of new 
parts after birth. Cap. 27. This seems to me a confined and inadequate view 
of a point, which, iu its full extent, is of great importance. 


in the respective attitudes in the two cases. The orangs (S. 
satyrus, troglodytes, and gibbon) have it placed as in man, and 
the pericardium attached to the diaphragm. In other simiae the 
apex only is a little inchned to the left, and touches the muscle. 

The curvature of the sacrum and os coccygis gives rise to the 
peculiar situation and direction of the sexual organs, and par- 
ticularly of the vagina of the human female. As these bones 
are extended in the same straight line with the spine in all other 
mammalia, the canal of the vagina follows the axis of the pelvis, 
lies nearly parallel to the spine, and has its external orifice 
directed downwards or backwards : the orifice of the urethra 
opens into the vagina itself. These arrangements fully explain 
to us why brutes discharge the urine behind, why they copu- 
late backwards, and why parturition is so easy with them. 

In these points of structure, the monkey kind agree with the 
mammalia in general, and differ from man. The axis of the 
vagina is directed downwards in them ; the urine is discharged 
within it (such, at least, Blumenbach* found to be the case 
in the papio maimon and the simia cynomolgus), and they are, 
consequently, retromingent and retro-copulant. 

Mr. Hunter, who had had opportunities of observing the 
process, informs us that " monkeys always copulate backwards . 
this is performed sometimes when the female is standing on all 
fours ; and at other times the male brings her between his 
thighs v/hen he is sitting, holding her with his fore-paws. "f 

Dr. Froriep, of Weimar, late physician to the King of 
Wurtemberg, informed me that he had often seen monkeys 
copulate in the extensive menagerie of that monarch ; and that 
they performed the process backwards ; the male supporting 
himself by the feet on the calves of the female, so that he did 
not touch the ground. 

The incurvation of the sacrum and coccyx turns the human 

• De g. h. var. nat. sect. i. 5 7. Tlie urethra does not, however, open within 
the vagina in the orang-outang. Camper mentions that the nymphaj of this 
animal were " corame r^unies ensemble," and that the urethra opened below 
them. Qiuvres, i. 102. 

According to Cuvier the female urethra always opens at the external orifiea 
of the vagina, and therefore holds the same situation in respect to this canal, in 
all animals. The canal exterior to this termination of the urethrahe calls I'u/r/i. 
It is a simple entrance of little depth in the human subject ; rather larger in the 
baboons, equal in length to the vagina itself in some other monkeys, as the 
sapajous, or even superior, as in the bear. Leq. d'Anat. comp. v. 128. 

On account of the great depth of the symphysis pubis in the orang-outang 
(two inches in an animal of little more than two feet, which is equal to its 
greatest depth in the tallest woman), the urethra of the orang-outang is evea 
longer than that of the human female. Camper, ut supra, p. 107. 

T Animal Economy, p, 136. 


vagina forwards, so that its axis cuts that of the pelvis nearly at 
right angles, and its anterior opening is turned forwards ; the 
urethra opens on its upper and front edge, not at all within the 
canal. Hence the human female differs from all other mam- 
malia * in not being retromingent and retro-copulant ; hence, 
too, although many inconveniences to which she would have 
been otherwise exposed, particularly during pregnancy, are 
obviated, parturition is rendered much more difficult, and a 
physical reason is found for that doom under which she labours, 
of bringing forth children in son-ow and in pain. 

Although it cannot be deemed an internal organ, this seems 
the fittest place for mentioning the hymen, an interesting part 
of the female structure in many respects, and therefore more 
noticed and investigated than so small a fold of skin would 
have seemed to deserve. The general opinion of its non- 
existence in the other mammalia besides man, and the circum- 
stance of its being found m women only at a particular period 
of life, and even then not universally, have led many anatomists 
to deny its existence altogether. The question, however, can be 
so easily settled by direct evidence, that we are surprised to find 
BuFFON still contesting the point. Though the opinion of this 
great naturalist is incorrect in point of fact, we cannot but 
admire the eloquence with which he inveighs against the dis- 
graceful opinions and practices which have prevailed on this 

It has been generally asserted that this little part is found 

* Probably the cetaoea may form an exception to this statement. Our atten- 
tion, however, is hardly extended to them in this comparison of man and 
animals. According to the representations of Sieller, the manati and the ursine 
seal (sea-cow and sea-bear) copulate in the human method. Nov. Comm. 
Acad. Sclent. Pelrvp. v. ii. pp. Z^b and 354. 

t " Les hommes, jalouxdes primaut^s en tout"cnre, ont toujours fait grand 
cas de tout ce qu'ils ont cru pouvoir posseder exclusivement et les premiers: 
c'est cette espece de folie, qui a fait un etre reel de la virginity des lilies. La 
virginity, qui est un etre moral, une vertu qui ne consiste que dans la puretO 
du coeur, est devenu un objet physique dont tons les hommes se sont occup^s; 
ils ont etabli sur cela des opinions, des usages, des ceremonies, des superstitions, 
etmfime des jugemens, et des peines ; les abus les plus illicites, les couturaes 
les plus Ueshonnetes ont etes autorisees ; on a soumis ^ I'examen des matrones 
ignorantes, et expose aux yeux de medecins prevenus les parties les plus 
secrC'tes de la nature, sans songer qu'une pareille indeeence est un attentat 
centre la virginite ; que c'est la violer que de chercher la reconnoitre ; que toute 
situation honteuse, tout etat indecent, dont une fiUe est obligee derougirinte- 
rieurement, est une vraie defloration. Je n'espdre pas reussir k detruire les 
pr^jug^s ridicules qu'on s'est formes sur ce sujet; les chuses, qui font plaisir 
a croirc, seront toujours crues, quelques vaines et quelques deraisonnables 
qu'elles puissent etre; cependant, cornme dans une histcire on rapporte nou 
seulement la suile des evenemens, et les circonstances des faits, mais aussi 
I'origine des opinions et des crreurs dominantes, j'ai cru que dans I'histoirede 
riiomrae, je ne pourrois me dispenser de parler de I'idule favorite a laiiuelle il 
sacrifie, d'examiner quelUs peuvent etre les raisous de son culte, etde recher- 
eher si la virginity est un etre rC'el, ou si ce n'est qu'une divinite fabuleuse." 


only in the human subject. In the female orang-outang Cam- 
per* says that the hymen was not apparent, although the 
indmdual was very young. Blumenbach f informs us that 
he could neither find any trace of this part, nor those supposed 
remains of it called carunculae myrti-formes, in monkeys or 
baboons ; and that his search was equally fruitless in a female 
elephant, in which it had been reported that a hymen existed. 
CuviER,t on the contrary, represents that several mammalia 
have a distinct membranous fold at the entrance of the vagina, 
and others a decided contraction in the same situation. 

It is not so easy to explain the use or purpose of this mem- 
brane, as to establish the fact of its existence. This little fold 
has indeed completely puzzled the physico-theologists, who have 
as yet assigned no rational explanation of it. The moral pur- 
poses aUuded to by Haller § are quite unintelligible in our 
own species ; and are stiU more inapplicable to the case of brutes. 

The clitoris and the nymphse have been supposed peculiar to 
the human female, as weU as the hymen ; the latter, indeed, are 
generally absent in the mammalia, but Blumenbach || informs 
us tliat a lemur, which he kept alive for many years, had them 
very closely resembling the human. The clitoris seems to bo 
universally found in the mammalia : it is very large in the 
monkey kind, and in the carnivora; and Blumenbach ^ saw 
it of the size of a fist in a balasna hoops stranded on the coast of 

» (Ettrres, i. 102. r De s. h. rar. nat. Lect. i. { 8. 

it He states, on the authority of Stella, that the nurthern manati has a strong 
semilunar lol d al the orifioe of tlie vagina, contracting the entrance of tliat 
canal ; that the mare and ass have a similar structure ; and that in the ouistiti 
(simia jacchus) the marikina (S. rosalia), and the coaita (S. paniseus), there 
are two lateral similunar folds, leaving between them a perpendicular slit. In 
the otter, dog, cat, and ruminants, he found a constricted circle. In the brown 
bear there was a thick lip-like fold of the internal membrane, reducing the 
entrance of the vagina to a simple transverse slit ; and the liyeiia exhibited an 
aiialoi'ous structure. A young hyrax had a very distinct circular hymen. 
Lcq. a' Anal, comi: T. v. {>. 131, 132. 

? " Vix tamen dubites, cum solo in homine sit repertus, etiam ad morales 
fines el esse concessum signum pudieitia;, quo et vitium illatum eogno&catur, 
et p\ira-virgo decas suum possit tueri, et ipse maritus de castitate sponsse facile 
convincatur, eo facilius, quod pra'terea in ilUbata virgine vagina angusta sit. 
Etsi eiiim possit fieri ut parvus, ut laxus sit hymen, atque prima venus ali- 
quando absque sanguine absolvatur, neque hymen rurapatur ; etsi artificio 
porro in parum pudica femina sanguis pussit elici ; etsi tenerae virgiues ali- 
quando etiam in altero coitu sanguinem reddunt, et menses tiuentes vaginam 
laxant ; tamen in universum debet prima venus cruenta esse, eoque signo 
pudor virgineus adseri, cum vix possit plena venus obtineri, quin superior 
margo partis majoris hymenis laceretur. Quare et JMusaicaj leges, et multo- 
rum po])ulorum consuetudo, hoc signum servatae castitatis et requirunt et 
ostentant, et do exemplis in virginibus etiam pene trigenariis certussum, quae 
insignem in prima veuere sanguinis jacturam suntpassa;. " Elvm, Fhydul, 
lib. ii8, sect. 2, \ 27. 

II Lib. cit. p. 21. IT Ibid. 



I'eculianlies in the animal Economy of the human Species; general Extension 
over the Globe; Man naturally omnivorous ; his long Infancy and slow Deve- 
lopment : — hence suited to the Social State. 

In the diversity of the regions, which he is capable of inhabiting, 
the lord of the creation holds the first place among animals. 
His frame and nature are stronger and more flexible than those 
of any other creature ; hence he can dweU in all situations on 
the surface of the globe. The neighbourhood of the pole, and 
the equator, high mountains and deep valleys, are occupied by 
him : his strong but pliant body l)ears cold, heat, moisture, light 
or heavy air ; he can thrive any where, and runs into less re- 
markable varieties than any other animals, which occupy so great 
a diversity of abodes : — a prerogative so singular, that it must 
not be overlooked. 

The situations occupied by our species in the present times 
extend as far as the known surface of the earth. The Green- 
lander and Esquimaux have reached between 70o and 80° of 
N. L. and Danish settlements have been formed in Greenland in 
the same high latitude. Three Russians lived between six and 
seven years on Spitzbergen between 77° and 7So N. L.* The 
Ne^ro Uves under the equator, and all America is inhabited even 
to Terra del Fuego. Thus we find that man can exist and pro- 
pagate his si>ecies in the hottest and coldest countries of the earth. 

The greatest natural cold ascertained by thermometrical mea- 
surement was that e.xperienced by the elder Gmelin in 1735, 
at Jeniseik : the mercury froze in the tliermometer.f The 
sparrows and jays were all killed. When Pallas was at Kras- 
noiarsk, the quicksilver also froze in tlie ball of the thermo- 
meter ; and a large mass of pure mercury froze in the open air.| 
Our own countrymen experienced apparently as severe a degree 
of cold on the Churchill River in Hudson's Bay. Brandy was 
frozen in the rooms where they had fires. § Yet the Canadian 
savages and the Esquimaux go to the chase in this temperature ; 
and the inhabitants of the countries visited by Gmelin and 
Pallas cannot remain in their houses all the winter. Even 
Europeans accustomed to warmer chmates, can undergo such 
cold as I have just mentioned, with impunity, if they take 

• Dr. Aikin on the .attempts to winter in high Nortliem Latitudes; Manchester 
Society's Memoirs; v. 1, p. 96, 
+ Flora Sibirica; Pref. t Travels in Russia ; pi. 3. 

{ Fhilos. Tram, No. 465. 


exercise enough. The Danes have Uved in Greenland in 72° 
N. L. ; and the Dutch, under Heemskerk, wintered at Nova 
Zembla in 76° N. L. Some of them perished ; but those, who 
moved enough, and were in good health at first, withstood the 
dreadful cold, which the polar bear (ursus maritimus), apparently 
born for these climes, seems to have been incapable of support- 
ing : for their journal states, that, as soon as the sun sinks be- 
low the horizon, the cold is so intense that the bears are no 
longer seen, and the white fox (isatis, canis lagopus) alone braves 
the weather.* We have another example, in which three men 
remained between six and seA'en years in 78o N. L.f 

The power of the human body to withstand severe cold will 
appear in a more remarkable light when we observe what heat 
it is capable of bearing. Boerhaave asserted, that a tempe- 
rature of from 96° to 100° would be fatal to man. The mean 
temperature of Sierra Leone is 84° Fahr. : Messrs. Watt and 
Winterbottom saw the thermometer frequently at 100°, and 
even 102o and 103° (in the shade), at some distance from the 
coast.:^ Adanson saw it at lOS^o in the shade at Senegal in 
17° N. L. : § and Buffon cites an instance of its being seen at 
1172°- The country to the west of the great desert may be still 
hotter than Senegal, from the effect of the winds which have 
swept over the whole tract of its burning sands. When the 
sirocco blows in Sicily, the thermometer rises to 112°, according 
to Brydone. Dr. Chalmers observed a heat of 115° in 
South Carohna in the shade : || and Humboldt, of 110° to 115° 
in the Llanos or deserts near the Orinoco in South America.^ 

Thus man can support aU possible degrees of atmospherical 
heat and cold : he has an equal power of supporting varieties of 
pressure. The ordinary pressure of the air, at the level of the 
sea, may be reckoned at 32,325lbs. for the whole surface of the 
body, supposing the barometer at 30 inches. If we ascend to a 
height of 12,000 feet, of which elevation extensive tracts, inha- 
bited by thousands, are found in South America, the barometer 
stands at 20i inches, and the pressure is 21,750 lbs. Conda- 

* Voy. de la Comp. des Indes ; pi. LA short account of the voj-age is given 
by Mr. Barrow in his Chronological History of Foyagei: into the Arctic Regions; 
chap. ii. The polar bears disappeared, and the white foxes were seen in great 
numbers, as soon as the sun set : when it rose again, the foxes went away, 
and the bears returned. 

+ Dr. Aikin, as above quoted. 

t Winterbottom's Accowit of the native Africans ; v. 1, p. Zi, 33. 

\ Voy. au Senegal. 

II On the TVeatlifer and Diseases of South Carolina. 

ii Tableau jihysique des HegioTis Equatoriales. 


MINE and BouGUER, with their attendants, lived three weeks 
at a height of 2434 toises, or 14,604 French feet, where the ba- 
rometer stood at 15 in. 9 hnes, and the pressure must conse- 
quently have been 16,920 lbs.* In the Peruvian territory, ex- 
tensive plains occur possessing an altitude of 9000 feet ; and 
three-fifths of the vice-royalty of Mexico, comprehending the 
interior provinces, present a surface of half a million of square 
miles, which runs nearly level at an elevation between 6000 and 
8000 feet. Mexico is 7-175, and Quito 9550 feet above the level 
of the sea. The hamlet of Antisana, 13,500 feet above that level, 
is the highest inliabited spot on the surface of our globe ; but 
Humboldt ascended Chimborago to 19,300 feet.f There are 
no mstances of men living under a pressure much greater than 
what has been mentioned : the depths to which the earth has 
been penetrated, in the operations of mining are trifling in this 
point of view. In diving, however, the body is subject to, and 
can bear, several atmospheres ; as, on the contrary, in balloons, 
men have ascended beyond any point of elevation on the sur- 
face of the earth, t and have consequently been exposed to a 
much more considerable diminution of the ordinary pressure 
than what I have stated above. 

As the physical capabilities of his frame enable man to occupy 
every variety of climate, soil, and situation, it follows of necessity, 
that he must be omnivorous, that is, capable of deriving suffi- 
cient nourishment and support from all kinds of food. The 
power of living in various situations would be rendered nugatory 
by restriction to one kind of diet. 

If it was the design of nature, that the dreary wastes of Lap- 
land, the naked and barren shores of the Icy Sea, the ice-bound 
coasts of Greenland and Labrador, and the frightful deserts of 
Terra del Fuego, should be not left entirely uninhabited, it is 
impossible to suppose that either a vegetable or even a mixed 
diet is necessary to human subsistence. IIow could roots, fruits, 
or other vegetable productions be procured, where the bosom of 
the earth is closed the greater part of the year, and its surface 
either covered with many feet of snow, or rendered impenetrable 
by frost of equal depth ? Experience shows us that the constant 

• Mem. de VAcad. des Sciences, annfe 1744; p. 262, 2G3. 

+ Tableau phys. des Regions Equaloriales ; and Tableaux de la JVature. 

t The heis^ht of 23,040 feet above the level of the soa, reached by Mr. Gay 
Lussac ill his second ascent, although considerably higher than the summit 
of Chimboraco, may however he surpassed by some peaks of the Himmaleh 
mountains; if the recent suppositious concerning tneir altitude should Ihj 
hereafler verified. 


use of animal food alone is as natural and wholesome to the 
Esquimaux, the Samoiedes, the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, 
&c &c. as the most careful admixture of vegetable and animal 
matters is to us. We even find that the Russians, who winter 
on Nova Zembla, are obliged to imitate the Samoiedes, by drink- 
ing fresh rein-deer blood, and eating raw flesh, in order to pre- 
serve their health. In the memoir already quoted. Dr. Aikin 
informs us, that these practices were found most conducive to 
health in those high northern latitudes. Hence, we shall be less 
surprised at finding men in certain situations living and enjoying 
health on what seem to us the most filthy and disgusting objects. 
The Greenlander and the inhabitant of the Archipelago between 
north-eastern Asia and north-western America, eat the whale, 
often without waiting for cookery. The former bury a seal, when 
they catch one, under the grass in summer, and the snow in 
winter, and eat the half-frozen, half-putrid flesh with as keen a 
relish as the European finds in hi-s greatest dainties. They drink 
the blood of the seal while warm, and eat dried herrings moistened 
with whale oil.* 

In the torrid zone, on the contrary, circvimstances arc very 
unfavourable to -raising and supporting those flocks and herds 
of domesticated animals, which would be necessary to supply 
the numerous population with animal food. The number, fierce- 
ness, and strength of beasts of prey, the periodical alternations 
of rains and inundations, with the long continued operation of a 
vertical sun, whose direct rays dry up all succulent vegetables 
and all fluids, are the principal and insurmountable obstacles. 
The deficient supply of flesh is most abundantly compensated 
by numerous and valuable vegetable presents ; by the cocoa-nut, 
the plantain, the banana, the sago-tree ; by the potatoe, yam, 
cassava, and other roots ; by maize, rice, and millet ; and by an 
infinite diversity of cooling and refreshing fruits. By these 
precious gifts, nature has pointed out to the natives of hot 
climates the most suitable kind of nourishment : here, accord- 
ingljr, a vegetable diet is found most grateful and salubrious, and 
animal food much less wholesome. 

In the temperate regions of the globe, all kinds of animal food 
can be easily procured, and nearly all descriptions of grain, roots, 
fruit, and other vegetable matters ; and, when taken in modera- 
tion, all afford wholesome nourishment. Here, therefore, man 
appears in his omnivorous character. As we pass from these 
• Cranz, Gesch. von Gronland. 


middle climes towards the poles, animal matters are more and 
more exclusively taken ; towards the equator, cooling fruits and 
other produce of the earth constitute a greater share of human 

The diversity of substances composing the catalogue of human 
aliments,* offers a strong contrast to the simple diet of most 
other animals, which, in their wild state, are confined to one 
kind of food, either animal or vegetable, and are often restricted 
to some very small part of either kingdom. Hence, it has been 
conceived, that man also ought to confine himself to one sort, 
that he probably did so in his natural state, and that the present 
variety in his bill of fare is the consequence of degeneration or 
departure from nature. The question of the natural food of 
man, has, therefore, been much agitated. 

The nature of an animal is only to be learned by an observa- 
tion of structure, actions, and habits. From the powerful fangs 
and jaws, the tremendous talons, the courage, and the vast mus- 
cular strength of the lion, and his constant practice of attacking 
living prey, we pronounce his nature to be ferocious, predatory, 
and carnivorous. From evidence of the same sort, we determine 
the nature of the hare to be mild, timid, and herbivorous. In a 
similar way we conclude man to be naturally omnivorous ; find- 
ing that he has instruments capable of procuring, masticating, 
and digesting all descriptions of food, and that he can subsist in 
health and strength on flesh or vegetables only, or on a mixture 
of both. 

• To this long list, -n-hich, already comprehending most of the substances in 
the two organic kingdoms of nature, so fully justifies us in dorioiiiinatingmaa 
an omnivorous animal, we have to add, on the authorit3' of recent trials in 
Germany, the wood of various trees. The ligneous fibres of the beech, birch, 
lime, poplar, elms, tir, and probably others, when dried, gronnd, and sifted, 
so as to form an impalpable powder like coarse flour, are not only capable of 
affording wholesome nourishment to man or animals, but even, with some 
admixtures, and some culinary skill, constitute verj- palatable articles of food. 
If cold water be poured on some wood flour, inclosed in a tine linen ba"-, it 
becomes milky, and considerable pressing or kneadino; is required to wash out 
from the flour all the starch-like matter it contains. Like starch, this matter 
slowly subsides in cold water ; and it forms, when boiled with water, a thick 
tenacious paste, which will firralv agglutinate the leaves of paste-board. 

The following publications have appeared on the subject, vtz. Oberlechner, 
.^rs fabricandi trumentum verum ; Salzburg, 1805. ff'ie kann man sich bey 
grosser Tkeuerung iind Hungersnoth o/ine Getreid gesundes Brod rersrhaffenl 
Salzburg, 1816. Autenrieth, Grmdliche Anleitung zur Brod-zuhereitung, cms 
Uolz; Stuttgard, 1817. 

The last work, by Professor Autenrieth of Tubingen, is analysed in the 
Salzhurgmedicinisch-chirurgische Zeitung, 1817, v. 3, No. 56. 

The bark of trees has been long occasionally used as a substitute, in times 
of scarcity, for other food. Professor Von Buch has described the prepara- 
tion and efl'ects of the Norwegian Barke Brod, which seems however a very 
imperfect and unwholesome kind of nutriment. — Travels through Norway and 
Lapland; p. 87. 


It is» alleged in reply, that man in society is artificial and 
degenerate ; and the object of inquiry is stated to be, vvhat does 
he feed on before civilization, in his original, unsophisticated 
condition ? Generally on animal food, the produce of the chase 
or the fishery ; because vegetable food cannot be obtaiiied in 
suflficient certainty and abundance, until something like settled 
habits of life have begun, until the arts, at least that of agricul- 
ture, have commenced. If the rudest barbarism be the most 
natural state of man, the New Hollanders and the inhabitants of 
Van Diemen's Land, are the most unexceptionable specimens ; 
raised, and but just raised, above the level of brutes. ITiese 
savages are very thinly scattered, in small numbers, and at wide 
intervals, along the coasts of the great austral continent ; and 
derive their support from the sea. They are not, however, pure 
icthyophagists, as they sometimes get a kangaroo, a bird, or a 
few roots, and sometimes the large larvae of an insect from the 
bark of the dwarf gum-tree (eucalyptus resinifera) : sometimes 
they mix their roots with ants, and their larvae into a paste.* 

The individuals, whom we send to New South Wales, are not 
the best specimens of our iron age, yet they are far beyond these 
children of nature, in physical and moral attributes. 

The Greenlanders, the Kurilian and Aleutian islanders, the 
wandering hordes of Asia, and the hunting tribes of North 
America, are, perhaps, too much civilized to be admitted as 
examples of natural man : they are aU carnivorous. 

If the practices of savage and barbarous people are to be the 
criterion, we must deem it natural to eat earth. " The Otto- 
maques," says Humboldt, f " on the banks of the Meta and 
the Orinoco, feed on a fat unctuous earth, or a species of pipe- 
clay, tinged with a little oxyd of iron. They collect this clay 
very carefully, distinguishing it by the taste : they knead it 
into balls of four or six inches in diameter, which they bake 
slightly before a slow fire. Whole stacks of such provision 
are seen piled up in their huts. These clods are soaked in 
water, when about to be used ; and each individual eats about a 
pound of the material every day. The only addition, which they 
occasionally make to this unnatural fare, consists in small fish, 
lizards, and fern-roots. The quantity of clay that the Otto- 

* Collins, Account of the English Colony in A'ew South JFales ; Appendix, 
No. 4. Their habitations, if that name be deemed applicable to a hole in a 
tree or rock, or to a piece of bark strippe/l from a sin;,'le tree, bent and laid 
on the ground ; and the rest of their domestic and social economy, as portrayed 
in the same work, are quite in unison with their bill of lare. 

+ Tab. fihys, des Re<^ions equatoriales. 


raaques consume, and the greediness with which they devour 
it, seem to prove that it does more than distend their hungry 
stomachs, and that the organs of digestion have the power of 
extracting from it something convertible into animal substance." 

The same practice has been observed in other places.* . 

Is it a just point of view to regard the savage state exclusively 
as the state of nature ? Is civihzation to be considered as 
opposed to and incompatible with the nature of man ? 

A power of improvement, of advancement in arts and sciences, 
that is, the capability of civilization, or perfectibihty, as it has 
sometimes been called, is recognised in all human beings : its 
degree is very various in individuals and races. All have lived 
in society, which strongly tends to promote and assist the de- 
velopment of this power. Social Ufe and progressive civili- 
zation, instead of being unnatural to man, are therefore parts, 
and very valuable parts of his nature, as much as the erect 
stature and speech ; as much as ferocity and solitary life are the 
nature of predacious animals, or mildness and herding together 
are of many herbivorous ones. It is as much the nature of man 
to form societies, to build up pohtical associations, to cultivate 
arts and sciences, to spread himself over the globe, and avail 
himself of both organized kingdoms for his support, as it is that 
of the bee and ant to establish their communities, to gather honey 
and lay up pro^'isions, or that of any other animals to perform 
the actions by which they are respectively characterized. 

These considerations lead to the conclusion, that progressive 
advance and development, and the emplo}'ment of aU kinds of 
food, are as natural to man, as stationary uniformity and restric- 
tion to one species of aliment are to any animals. 

In discussing this question, we sometimes meet with posi- 
tions respecting the influence of animal or vegetable diet, on 
the development of the bodily and mental powers, which are 
quite unsupported by direct proof : and some have even sought 
for a support to their systems in the fictions of poetry. 

" The Pythagorean diet," says Buffon, " though extolled 
by ancient and modem philosophers, and even recommended by 
certain physicians, was never indicated by nature. If man were 
obliged to abstain totally from flesh, he would not, at least in 

* " I saw one man, whose stomach was already well lined, but who, in our 
presence, ate a piece of steatite, which was verj- soft, of a greenish colour, and 
twice as large as a man's fist. We afterwards saw a number of others eat of 
the same earth, which serves to allay the sensation of hunger by filling the 
stomach." Labillardiere, Voyage in search o/La Perouse, v. ii. 214. 


our climates, either exist or multiply. An entire abstinence 
from flesh can have no effect but to enfeeble nature. To pre- 
serve himself in proper plight, man requires not only the use of 
this solid nourishment, but even to vary it. To obtain com- 
plete vigour, he must choose that species of food, which is most 
agreeable to his constitution ; and, as he cannot preserve himself 
in a state of activity, but by procuring new sensations, he must 
give his senses their full stretch, and eat a variety of meats, to 
prevent the disgust arising from an uniformity of nourishment." 

We are told, on the other hand, that in the golden age man 
was as innocent as the dove ; his food was acorns, and his 
beverage pure water from the fountain. Finding every where 
abundant subsistence, he felt no anxieties, but lived inde- 
pendent, and always in peace both with his own species, and the 
other animals. But he no sooner forgot his native dignity, and 
sacrificed his liberty to the bonds of society, than war and the 
iron age succeeded that of gold and of peace. Cruelty and an 
insatiable appetite for flesh and blood were the first fruits of a 
depraved nature, the corruption of which was completed by the 
invention of manners, arts, and sciences. Either immediately, 
or remotely, all the physical and moral evil, by which indivi- 
duals are aflSicted, and society laid waste, arose from these 
carnivorous practices. 

Both these representations are contradicted by the only crite- 
rion in such questions, an appeal to experience. That animal 
food renders man strong and courageous, is fully disproved by 
the inhabitants of northern Europe and Asia, the Laplanders, 
Samoiedes, Ostiacs, Tungooses, Burats, and Kamtschadales, as 
well as by the Esquimaux in the northern, and the natives of 
Terra del Fuego in the southern extremity of America, which 
are the smallest, weakest, and least brave people of the globe, 
although they live almost entirely on flesh, and that often raw. 

Vegetable diet is as little connected with weakness and 
cowardice, as that of animal matters is with physical force and 
courage. That men can be perfectly nourished, and their bodily 
and mental capabilities be fully developed in any climates by a 
diet purely vegetable, admits of abundant proof from experience. 
In the periods of their greatest simplicity, manliness, and bra- 
very, the Greeks and Romans appear to have lived almost 
entirely on plain vegetable preparations ; indiflferent bread, fruits, 
and other produce of the earth, are the chief nourishment of the 
modern Italians, and of the mass of the population in most coun- 


tries of Europe : of those more immediately known to ourselves, 
the Irish and Scotch may be mentioned ; who are certainly not 
rendered weaker than their English fellow-subjects by their 
freer use of vegetable aliment. The Negroes, whose great 
bodily powers are well known, feed chiefly on vegetable sub- 
stances ; and the same is the case with the South Sea Islanders, 
whose agility and strength were so great, that the stoiitest and 
most expert English sailors had no chance with them in wrest- 
ling and boxing. 

The representations of the Pythagoreans respecting the 
noxious and debilitating effects of animal food, are, on the other 
hand, the mere offspring of imagination. We have not the 
shadow of a proof, unless we admit Ovid's Metamorphoses and 
other poetical compositions, that this state of innocence, of exalted 
temperance, of entire abstinence from flesh, of perfect tranquil- 
lity, of profound peace, ever existed, or that it is more than a 
fable, designed to convey moral instruction. If the experience 
of every individual were not sufficient to convince him that the 
use of animal food is quite consistent ^vith the greatest strength 
of body and most exalted energy of mind, this truth is pro- 
claimed by the voice of all history. A few hundreds of Euro- 
peans hold in bondage the vegetable-eating millions of the East. 
If the Romans in their earliest state employed a simple vege- 
table diet, their glorious career went on uninterruptedly after 
they had become more carnivorous : we see them winning their 
way, from a beginning so inconsiderable that it is lost in the 
obscurity of fable, to the empire of the world ; we see them, by 
the power of intellect, establishing that dominion, which they 
had acquired by the sword, and producing such compositions in 
poetry, oratory, philosophy, and history, as are at once the 
admiration and despair of succeeding ages ; we see our own 
countrymen rivalling them in arts and in arms, exhibiting no less 
signal bravery in the field and on the ocean, and displaying in 
a Milton and Shakspeare, in a Newton, Bacon, and 
Locke, in a Chatham, Erskine, and Fox, no less mental 
energy. Yet, with these proofs before their eyes, men are 
actually found, who would have us believe, on the faith of some 
insulated, exaggerated, and misrepresented facts, and still more 
miserable hypothesis, that the development, form, and powers 
of the body are impaired and lessened, and the intellectual and 
moral faculties injured and perverted, by animal food. 

On this subject of diet a question naturally presents itself, 
H 2 


whether man approaches most nearly to the carnivorous or 
herbivorous tribes in his structure ? What kind of food should 
we assign to him, if we judged from his organization merely, 
and the analogy it presents to that of other mammalia ? Physio- 
logists have usually represented that our species holds a middle 
rank, in the masticatory and digestive apparatus, between the 
flesh-eating and the herbivorous animals ; — a statement which 
seems rather to have been deduced from what we have learned 
by experience on this subject, than to resiilt fairly from an actual 
comparison of man and animals. 

The molar teeth, being the instruments employed in dividing 
and preparing the food, must exhibit, in figure and construction, 
a relation to the nature of the aliment. They rise, in the true 
carnivora, into sharp-pointed prominences ; and those of the 
lower shut within those of the upper jaw : when the series is 
viewed together, the general outline may be compared to the 
teeth of a saw. These animals are also furnished with long, 
pointed, and strong cuspidati or canine teeth, which are 
employed as weapons of oflFence and defence, and are very ser- 
viceable in seizing and lacerating their prey : they constitute in 
some animals, as the lion, tiger, &c. very formidable weapons. 
The herbivorous animals are not armed with these terrible canine 
teeth : their molares have broad flat surfaces, opposed in a 
vertical line to each other in the two jaws. Plates of enamel are 
intermixed with the bone of the tooth in the latter : and, as its 
sup'ferior hardness makes it wear less rapidly than the other 
textures of the teeth, it appears on the grinding surface in rising 
ridges, which must greatly increase the triturating effect. In 
carnivorous animals the enamel is confined altogether to the 
surface of the teeth. 

The articulation of the lower jaw differs in the two cases as 
much as the structure of the teeth. In the carnivora it can only 
move backwards and forwards ; all lateral motion being pre- 
cluded by rising edges of the glenoid cavity : in the herbivora it 
has, moreover, motion from side to side. Thus we observe, in the 
flesh-eaters, teeth calculated only for tearing, subservient, in 
part at least, to the procuring of food, as well as to purposes of 
defence, and an articulation of the lower jaw, that precludes all 
lateral motion. In those which hve on vegetables, the form of 
the teeth and the nature of the joint are calculated for the lateral 
or grinding motion. The former, having rudely torn and 
divided the food, swallow it in masses, while in the latter it 


undergoes considerable comminution before it is swallowed. 
The teeth of man have not the slightest resemblance to those of 
the carnivorous animals, except that their enamel is confined to 
the external surface. He possesses, indeed, teeth called canine, 
but they do not exceed the level of the others, and are obviously 
unsuited to the purposes which the corresponding teeth execute 
in carnivorous animals. The obtuse tubercles of the human 
molares have not the most remote resemblance to the pointed 
projections of these teeth in carnivorous animals : they are as 
clearly distinguished from the flat crowns with intermixed 
enamel of the herbivorous molares. In the freedom of lateral 
motion, however, the human inferior maxilla more nearly 
resembles that of the herbivora. 

The teeth and jaws of man are in all respects much more 
similar to those of monkeys, than of any other animals. A 
skull, apparently of the orang-outang, in the Museum of the 
College, has the first set of teeth : the number is the same as in 
man, and the form so closely similar, that they might easily be 
mistaken for human. In most other simise the canine teeth are 
much longer and stronger than in us ; and so far these animals 
have a more carnivorous character. The points and ridges 
of the molares in simiae are distinguished by their sharpness from 
the pecuhar obtuse tubercles of the human molares. 

The length and division of the alimentary canal are very dif- 
ferent according to the kind of food. In the proper carnivorous 
animals the canal is very short,* the large intestine cylindrical, 
and the caecum not larger than the rest. The form of the 
stomach and the disposition of its openings are calculated to 
allow a quick passage of the food. In the herbivora the whole 
canal is long ;f and there is either a complicated stomach, or a 
very large caecum and a sacculated colon : the stomach, even 
where simple, is so formed as to retain the food for a consi- 
derable time. 

In comparing the length of the intestines to that of the body 
m man, and in other animals, a difficulty arises on account of the 
legs, which are included in the measurement of the body in the 
former, and not in the latter. The great depth of the cranium in 
man makes a further addition to the length of body, and thereby 

* The length of the body, in a straight line from the snout to the anus, com- 
pared to that of the intestines, varies in the curnivora, according to Cuvier, 
from 1 : 3 to 1 : 5.8 ; excepting the hj-aena, where it is as 1 : 8.3. Leq. d'Anat. 
comp. iii. 450. 

t In the ruminantia the comparative lengths of the body and intestines vary 
between 1 : 11 and 1 : 28 : in the solipeda, between 1 : 8 and 1 ; 10. lb. 453, 454. 


diminishes the proportion which the intestine bears to it. As 
our legs are half the height of the body, that should be reduced 
one-half, when it is compared to that of animals measured from 
the head to the anus ; or the length of the intestines may be 
doubled. When allowance is made for this circumstance, man 
will be placed nearly on the same line with the monkey race, 
and will be removed to a considerable distance from the proper 
carnivora. Soemmerring* states that the intestinal canal of 
man varies from three to eight times the length of the body. In 
Tyson's chimpanse of twenty-six inches, the canal measured 159 
inches, or about six times the length of the body.f In two 
sapajous and two monkeys the intestines were respectively 
62 and 96 inches; as the body is said in all to have been about 
14 inches from the head to the anus, its proportion to the intes- 
tines will be in the former as 1 : 4^, in the latter as 1 : 6i|.I 
From these as weU as other instances it is apparent that the 
comparative length of the alimentary canal in simiae is less than 
in man.§ 

The form of the stomach and caecum, and the structure of the 
whole canal, are very much alike in man and the monkey kind. 
The orangs (S. satyrus, troglodytes, and gibbon) have the 
appendix vermiformis, which the others want. 

Thus we find that, whether we consider the teeth and jaws, or 

the immediate instruments of digestion, the human structure 

closely resembles that of the simise ; aU of which, in their natural 

state, are completely herbivorous. || 

* De Corp. hum. Fab. t. vi. p. 200. t Anat. ofaPygmie, p. 32. 

X Memoires jiour servir a. I'Hist. nat. des Animaxix; 4to. part ii. p. 225. 
? The body, from the snout to the anus, is to the intestines, in the 

Gibbon (S. Lar), as . 1- 

Sajou (Cercopithecus,) 1 — 6 

Coaita (S. Paniscus) . 1—6.3 

Patas (S. Patas) . . . 1—6.5 

Callitriche (S. Saba;a) . 1—6 

Malbrouk (S. Sinica) . . . 1—6 
Macaque (S. Cynomolgus) . 1 — 6.7 
Magot (Barbary Ape. S. Inuus, 1 — 5.4 
Mandril Ribbed-nose Baboon, j , on 
S. Maimon . . . j 1— «-'5 
Cuvier, Le<;. d'Anat. comp. iii. 448. 
If we take the measurement of Soemmerring, and double the length of the 
intestines, in consequence of the legs being included, the proportion will be in 
man from 1 : 6 to 1 : 16. If the valvulte conniventes are peculiar to man, this 
peculiarity will be equivalent to a considerable increase of length in the canal. 
* Mr. Abel's orang-outang appears to have naturally preferred fruit : he 
yielded on ship-board to the temptation of meat, and seems to have quickly 
become as carnivorous as his companions. " His food in Java was chiefly 
fruit, especially mangostans, of v/hich he was excessively fond. He also 
sucked eggs with voracity ; and often employed himself in seeking them. Oi. 
board ship his diet was of no definite kind. He ate readily all kinds of meat, 
and especially raw meat; was very fond of bread, but always preferred fruits 
when he could obtain them." Journey in China ; p. 325. At present (December, 
1818) his diet is vegetable, both from his own choice, and because it agi-ees 
much best witli him. Of some species of South American simia>, it is inci- 
dentally mentioned by Humboldt, that they live on fruits ; Recueil d'Obs. de 
Zoologie, &c, p. 308, of the S. trivirgata ; p. 313, of the S. chiropotus ; p. 318, 


Man possesses a tolerably large caecum, and a cellular colon, 
which, I believe, are not found iu any carnivorous animal. 

I do not infer from these circumstances tlmt man is designed 
by nature to feed on vegetables, or that it would be more 
advantageous to him to adopt that diet. The hands and the arts 
of man procure for him the food, which carnivorous animals 
earn by their teeth. The processes of cookery bring what he 
eats into a diflferent state from that in which it is employed either 
by carnivorous or herbivorous animals. Hence the analogy in 
the modes of procuring and preparing food is too loose for us to 
place much confidence in the results of these comparative views. 
We must trust to experience alone for elucidating the great 
problem of diet ; its decision has been long ago pronounced, 
and wiU hardly now be reversed. 

It is again a different inquiry, which diet is on the whole most 
conducive to health and strength ? Which is best calculated to 
avert or remove disease ? Whether eiTors in quantity or quahty 
are most pernicious ? The solution of these and other analogous 
questions can only be expected from experimental investigation. 
Mankind are so averse to rehnquish their favourite indulgences, 
and to desert established habits, that we cannot entertain very 
sanguine expectations of any important discovery in this depart- 
ment : we must add to this, that there are many other causes 
affecting human health besides diet. Before venturing to draw 
any inference on a subject beset with so many obstacles, it 
would be necessary to observe the effects of a purely animal 
and a purely vegetable diet on several indi\dduals of different 
habits, pursuits, and modes of life ; to note their state, both 
bodily and mental ; and to learn the condition of two or three 
generations fed in the same manner. 

Recurring to the subject which has been already adverted to, 
—the extension of the great human family over the whole habit- 
able globe, — let us inquire a little into the causes of a pheno- 
menon, which so remarkably distinguishes man from all animals; 
— this power of existing and multipl}dng in every latitude, and 
in every variety of situation and climate. Does it arise from 
physical endowments, from any peculiar capabihties of the 
human organization ; — from strength and flexibility of the ani- 

of the S. melanocephala. It appears that some will occasionally take animal 
food, p. 320, and that the Titi (S. sciurea) will eat insects as well as fruits, 
p. 333. This little animal immediately distinguished, in some plates of natural 
historj', the insects on which it had been accustomed to prey, from other 
similar objects. 


mal machinery ? or from the effects of human art and con- 
trivance in affording protection from extremes of heat and cold, 
from winds and rains, from vapours and exhalations, and the 
other destructive influences of local situation ? Is it, in short, 
the result of physical constitution, or of reason ? I think that 
both these causes are concerned ; — that the original source of an 
attribute, which so strikingly characterizes our species, is to be 
sought in the properties of the human frame ; and that this 
original power of the bodily fabric is assisted and fully developed 
by the mental prerogatives of man. 

In what way do the Greenlander, the Esquimaux, and the 
Canadian* employ remarkable talents or invention to protect 
themselves against the cold ? They brave the winter with open 
breast and uncovered limbs, and devour their whales and seals 
drest, raw, or putrid. The Negrof is healthy and strong under 
a vertical sun, with the soles of his feet bare on the burning 
sands. On the other hand, the fox, the beaver, the marmot, 
and the hamster, seek the shelter of dwellings, which they dig 
for themselves. In this comparison, in respect to protection 
from external influences, man enjoys no peculiar privilege. The 
mind, indeed, employs the excellent structure of the body, lifts 
man above the rest of the creation, accommodates him to all 
places, gives him iron, fire and arms, furs, and screens from the 
sun, &c. ; but with all this could never make him what he now 
is, the inhabitant of all climates, if he did not possess the most 
enduring and flexible corporeal frame. The lower animals, in 
general, have no defence against the evils of a new climate, but 
the force of nature. The arts of human ingenuity furnish a de- 
fence against the dangers that surround our species in every 
region. Accordingly, we see the same nation pass into all the 
climates of the earth ; reside whole winters near the pole ; plant 
colonies beneath the equator ; pursue their commerce, and es- 
tablish their factories in Africa, Asia, and America. They can 
equally Uve under a burning sky and on an ice-bound soil, and 
inhabit regions, where the hardiest animals cannot exist. Such 

* The Knisteneaux (situated north of the great lakes and Canada) often 
go to the chase in the severest frost, covered with ordinary slight clothing. 
Mackenzie, Travels in North America; Preliminary Hist, of the Fur Trade, 
p. 94. Two Indians f Americans) slept on the snow in an ordinary light dress, 
when the thermometer at sunrise was 40 below 0. The man suffered no in- 
convenience ; the boy had his feet frozen, but they were recovered by eold 
water. Lewis and Clark's Travels, 4to. p. 112. 

+ The women and children on the coast of Sierra Leone wear nothing on 
their head, either in rain or sunshine. The mean heat is only 84° ; but the 
thermometer rises in the sun to 130 or 140. Winterbottom, (m the Native 
.'Africans, v. i. p. 38. 


changes indeed ought not to be hazeu-ded suddenly and without 
precaution. The greatest evils that have arisen from change of 
climate, have been occasioned by the presumption of health, 
that refuses to use the necessary precautions, or by the neglect 
of ignorance, that knows not what precautions to use. But 
when changes are gradually and prudently effected, habit soon 
accommodates the constitution to a new situation, and human in- 
genuity discovers the means of guarding against the dangers of 
every season and of every climate. 

The superiority of man appears more striking, when we con- 
trast his universal extension with the narrow limits, to which 
other animals, even the most anthropo-morphous, are confined. 
The whole tribe of simise are nearly included within the tropics;* 
and no species has any considerable range even within these 
boundaries. No species is common to the old and the new 
world ; none, probably, to Asia and Africa. The orang-outang 
seems to be only found in the island of Borneo ; and the chim- 
panse in a district of Africa. The gibbon is peculiar to the East 
Indies ; and the proboscis monkey (simia rostrata) to the Sunda 

The two most man-like monkeys (S. satyrus and troglodytes), 
inhabiting small districts of warm regions, are very inconsider- 
able species in number ; and thus offer a strong contrast to the 
thousand millions of the human species. They are subject to 
numerous diseases ; lose all their vivacity, strength, and natural 
character ; and perish, after lingering in a miserable way, when 
removed from their native abodes. An orang-outang brought 
to Paris, never recovered the exposure to cold in crossing the 
Pyrenees, and died at the age of fifteen months, with most of 
the viscera diseased and tuberculated.f The monkeys in general 
exist with difficulty in temperate countries, and can propagate 
only in warm climates. One which was impregnated in Eng- 
land, and attended with all possible care, brought forth a young 
one, which died immediately. t Probably the species could not 
be continued here, with all the aid of art, and it certainly could 
not be effected, if the animals were wild. When they are in- 
troduced into the north (indeed into the greater part) of Europe, 
and carefully managed in their food, temperature, &c. they die 
very quickly, and in almost all cases, of disease in the viscera, 
particularly the lungs. 

• The simia inuus, or Barbary ape^ has been transplanted from Africa to 
the rock of Gibraltar. 
T Jnnales du Museum, t. xvi. p. 53. t Hunter on the Animal Economy, p. 137« 
H 3 


Other animals, as the polar bear, naturally constructed for 
cold, cannot subsist in warmer regions. The dog accompanies 
man every where ; but, with all the protection and assistance 
afforded by his master, degenerates, and undergoes remarkable 
changes, both of bodily structure and other properties, in very 
warm and very cold regions. 

Other circumstances in the human economy correspond with 
this power of adaptation ; such are the slow growth, long in- 
fancy, and late puberty of man. In no animal but man do the 
sutures of the cranium close, or the teeth come out at so late a 
period : none is so long before it can support the body on the 
legs, before it arrives at the complete adult stature and capacity 
for exercising the sexual functions. The long infancy of our 
species is compensated by proportionate longevity : no other of 
the mammalia, of coi-responding size, enjoys so long a life as man. 
As the duration of life is in proportion to the time spent in arriv- 
ing at the fuU growth, there is every reason to suppose that the 
monkeys fall very short of man in this respect ; in this climate 
they are cut off so quickly, that we cannot form a judgment. 

If we add to the foregoing circumstances, that man is not pro- 
vided by nature with means of defence, and, consequently, re- 
quires assistance ; and that his great distinctions, reason and 
speech, are only germs which are not developed by themselves, 
but are brought to maturity by extraneous assistance, cultivation 
and education, we shall infer that he is designed, by nature, for 
social union. Such a condition appears more consonant to the 
structure, properties, and functions of our frame, even if it were 
not supported by the concurring voice of actual experience in 
all ages and nations, than the imaginary and most absurdly named 
"state of nature" of some philosophers. Rousseau, the great 
apostle of this doctrine, informs us, in direct words, that the 
state of nature never has existed : and he sets aside all facts as 
foreign to the question. With these admissions before us, we 
are required to believe that we have degenerated from our natural 
state : that speech, society, arts, inventions, sciences, agriculture, 
commerce, property, civil government, and inequality of con- 
dition, have introduced all possible misery, and have debilitated 
our physical being ; that we should live in the woods scattered 
and solitary to get food enough, protect life by flight and force, 
satisfy our desires, and sleep. Buffon has reasoned so well 
on this subject, that I employ his words : " In this condition of 
nature, the first education requires an equal time as in the civi- 


lized state ; for in both, the infant is equally feeble and equally 
slow in its growth, and, consequently, demands the care of its 
parents during an equal period. In a word, if abandoned before 
the age of three years, it would infallibly perish. Now, this 
necessary and long-continued intercourse between mother and 
child is sufficient to communicate to it all that she possesses ; 
and though we should falsely suppose that a mother, in a state 
of nnture, possesses nothing, not even the faculty of speech, 
would not this long intercourse with her infant produce a lan- 
guage ? Hence, a state of pure nature, in which man is sup- 
posed neither to think nor speak, is imaginary, and never had 
an existence. This necessity of a long intercourse between 
parents and children produces society in the midst of a desert. 
Tlie family understand each other both by signs and sounds ; 
and this first ray of intelligence, when cherished, cultivated, 
and communicated, expands, in process of time, into the full 
splendour of reason and intellect. As this habitual intercourse 
could not subsist so long, without producing mutual signs and 
sounds, these, always repeated, and gradually engraven on the 
memory of the child, would became permanent expressions. 
Tlie catalogue of words, though short, forms a language, which 
will soon extend as the family augments, and will always follow, 
in its improvement, the progress of society. As soon as society 
begins to be formed, the education of the infant is no longer indi- 
vidual, since the parents communicate to it, not only what they 
derive from nature, but likewise what they have received from 
their progenitors, and from the society to which they belong. 
It is no longer a communication between detached individuals, 
which, as in the animals, would be limited to the transmission 
of simple faculties, but an institution of which the whole species 
participates, and whose produce constitutes the basis and bond 
of society."* 

The menstrual discharge is peculiar to women, and belongs to 
the whole sex in all countries : so that Pliny is right in regard- 
ing woman as the only "animal menstruale." " I know, indeed," 
says BLUMENBACH,f "that the same discharge has been as- 
cribed to other animals, particularly of the order quadrumana. 
I have carefully inquired about all the female monkeys, which I 
have seen for these twenty years, either in menageries or carried 
about for pubHc exhibition, and have found some of them liable 
to uterine haemorrhage which observed no period, and was 

• Buffon by Wood, vol. x, p. 30. + De g, h. var. nat. p. 51, note. 



regarded by the more intelligent keepers as a circumstance aris- 
ing from disease ; although they acknowledged, that, in order 
to excite the admiration of their visitors, they often represent it 
as a true menstruation." 

The celebration of the rites of Venus is not confined in man, 
as in animals, to a particular season of the year. 


Faculties of the Mind ; Speech ; Diseases ; Recapitulation. 

All philosophers refer with one accord to the enjoyment of 
reason, as the chief and most important prerogative of the human 
species. If we inquire, however, more particularly into the 
meaning of this word, we shall be surprised to find what various 
senses different individuals affix to the same expression. Accord- 
ing to some, reason is a peculiar faculty of the mind, belonging 
exclusively to man : others consider it as a more enlarged and 
complete development of a power which exists, in a less degree, 
in other animals : some describe it as a combination of all the 
higher faculties of the mind ; while others assert that it is only 
a peculiar direction of them. " Non nostrimi inter hos tantas 
componere lites." 

The subject may, perhaps, be more shortly and safely dis- 
patched by considering it a posteriori. In order to acquire a 
clear and satisfactory notion of the mental nature of man and 
animals, it would be necessary for us to have as complete a 
knowledge of their internal movements, as we have of our own. 
But, as it is impossible to know what passes within them, or 
how to rank and estimate their sensations, in relation to those 
of man, we can only judge by comparing the effects which result 
from the natural operations of both. 

Let us, therefore, consider these effects ; and, while we ac- 
knowledge all the particular resemblances, we shall only examine 
some of the most general distinctions. The most stupid man is 
able to manage the most alert and sagacious animal; he governs 
it, and makes it subservient to his purposes. This he effects, 
not so much by bodily strength or address, as by the superiority 
of his intellectual nature. He compels the animal to obey him, 
by his power of projecting and acting in a systematic manner. 
The strongest and most sagacious animals have not the capacity 
of commanding the inferior tribes, or of reducing them to a state 


of servitude. The stronger, indeed, devour the weaker : but 
this action impUes an urgent necessity only, and a voracious 
appetite ; qualities very different from that which produces a 
train of actions all directed to one common design. If animals 
be endowed with this faculty, why do not some of them assume 
the reins of government ofer others, and force them to furnish 
their food, to watch for them, and to reheve the sick or wounded ? 
But among animals there is no mark of subordination, nor the 
least trace of any of them being able to recognise or feel a supe- 
riority in his nature above that of other species. We should 
therefore conclude, that all animals are in this respect of the 
same nature, and that the nature of man is not only far superior, 
but likewise of a very different kind from that of the brute. 

Thrown on the surface of the globe, weak, naked and defence- 
less, man appeared created for inevitable destruction. Evils 
assailed him on very side ; the remedies remained hidden. But 
he had received from his Creator the gift of inventive genius, 
which enabled him to discover them. His exertions were roused 
by the various wants of food, clothing, and dwelUng, by the infinite 
variety of climate, soil, and other circumstances. 

Pater ipse colendi 
Haud facilem esse viam voluit ; primusque per artem 
Movit agros ; curis acuens mortalia corda. 

This prerogative of invention seemed so important in the earlier 
periods of society, that it has been honoured with divine worship, 
as. the Thoth of the Egyptians, the Hermes of the Greeks. 

" The first savages collected in the forests a few nourishing 
fruits, a few salutary roots, and thus supplied their most imme- 
diate wants. The first shepherds observed that the stars move 
in a regular course, and made use of them to guide their journies 
across the plains of the desert. Such was the origin of the 
mathematical and physical sciences. 

" Once convinced that it could combat nature by the means 
which she herself afforded, genius reposed no more ; it watched 
her without relaxation ; it incessantly made new conquests over 
her, all of them distinguished by some improvement in the situa- 
tion of our race. 

" From that time a succession of conducting minds, faithful 
depositaries of the attainments already made, constantly occupied 
in connecting them, in vivifying them by means of each other, 
have conducted us, in less than forty ages, from the first essays 
of rude observers, to the profound calculations of Newton and 


La Place, to the learned classifications of Linneus and 
JussiEU. This precious inheritance, perpetually increasing, 
brought from Chaldea into Egj-pt, from Egypt into Greece, 
concealed during ages of disaster and of darkness, recovered 
in more fortunate times, unequally spread among the nations of 
Europe, has every where been followed by wealth and power ; 
the nations which have reaped it, are become the mistresses of 
the v/orld ; such, as have neglected it, are fallen into weakness 
and obscurity."* 

Man has made tools for assisting his labour ; and hence 
Franklin sagaciously defined him a " tool-making animal :" 
he has formed arms and weapons, he has devised various means 
of procuring fire. Lastly, " The most noble and profitable 
mvention of all others was that of speech ; whereby men declare 
their thoughts one to another for mutual utility and conversa- 
tion, without which there had been amongst men neither com- 
monwealth nor society, no more than amongst lions, bears, and 
wolves."f This is a most important characteristic of man, since 
it is not born with him, like the voices of animals, but has been 
framed and brought into use by himself, as the arbitrary variety 
of diflJerent languages incontestably proves. 

Man exhibits, by external signs, what passes within him ; he 
communicates his sentiments by words, and this sign is uni- 
versal. The savage and the civilized man have the same powers 
of utterance ; both speak naturally, and are equally understood. 
It is not owing, as some have imagined, to any defect in their 
organs, that animals are denied the faculty of speech. The 
tongue of a monkey is as perfect as that of a man : Camper 
asserts that the laryngeal pouch renders it impossible for the 
orang-outang to speak ; I do not clearly understand how this is 
ascertained ; but, allowing its truth, there are other monkeys, 
who have not this pouch, and yet cannot speak. 

Several animals may be taught to pronounce words, and even 
to repeat sentences ; which proves clearly that the want of speech 
is not owing to any defect in their organs ; but to make them 
conceive the ideas, which these words express, is beyond the 
power of art. They articulate and repeat hke an echo or machine. 
Language implies a train of thinking ; and for this reason 
brute animals are incapable of speech ; for, though their external 

• Cuvier, Rnflictions on the Progress of the Sciences, iic. read at the Royal 
Institute of France, April 24, 1816. 
+ liobbes; Leviathan. 


senses are not inferior to our own, and though we should allow 
some of them to possess a faint da^vni^g of comparison, reflection, 
and judgment, it is certain that the)' are unable to form that 
association of ideas, in which alone the essence of thought con- 

The possession of speech, therefore, corresponds to the more 
numerous, diversified, and exalted intellectual and moral endow- 
ments of man, and is a necessary aid to their exercise and full 
development. The ruder faculties and simple of ani- 
mals do not require such assistance. The natural language of 
inarticulate sounds, gestures, and actions, suffices for their pur- 
poses. The wonderful discoveiy of alphabetical writing, and 
the invention of printing, complete the benefits derived from 
the noble prerogative of speech. 

With the operations of animals, who always perform the same 
work in the very same manner ; the execution of any individual 
being neither better nor worse than that of any other ; in whom 
the individual, at the end of some months, is what he will remain 
through life, and the species, after a thousand years, just what 
it was in the first year ; — contrast the results of human industry 
and invention, and the fruits of that perfectibility, which cha- 
racterizes both the species and the individual. By the intel- 
ligence of man the animals have been subdued, tamed, and 
reduced to slavery : by his labours marshes have been drained, 
rivers confined, their cataracts eflFaced, forests cleared, and the 
earth cultivated. By his reflection, time has been computed, 
space measured, the celestial motions recognised and repre- 
sented, the heavens and the earth compared. He has not 
merely executed, but has executed with the utmost accuracy, 
the apparently impracticable tasks assigned by the poet, 

(to wondrous creature ! mount where science guides ; 
Weigh air, measure earth, and calculate the tides. 

By human art, which is an emanation of science, mountains 
have been overcome, and the seas have been traversed ; the 
pilot pursuing his course on the ocean, with as much certainty, 
as if it had been traced for him by engineers, and finding at 
each moment the exact point of the globe on which he is, by 
means of astronomical tables. Thus nations have been united ; 
and a new world has been discovered, opening such a field for 
the unfettered and uncorrupted energies of our race, that the 
senses are confused, the mind dazzled, and judgment and cal- 
culation almost suspended by the grandeur and brightness of 


the glorious and interminable prospects. The whole face of the 
earth at present exhibits the works of human power, which, 
though subordinate to that of nature, often exceeds, at least, so 
wonderfully seconds her operations, that, by the aid of man, her 
whole extent is unfolded, and she has gradually arrived at that 
point of perfection and magnificence in which we now behold her. 

In the point of view which I have just considered, man stands 
alone : his faculties, and what he has effected by them, place 
him at a wide interval from all animals ; at an interval which no 
animal hitherto known to us can fill up. The man-like monkey, 
the almost reasonable elephant, the docile dog, the sagacious 
beaver, the industrious bee, cannot be compared to him. In 
none of these instances is there any progress either in the indi- 
viduals or the species. 

In most of the feelings, of which other individuals of the 
species are the objects, and in aU which come under the deno- 
mination of moral sentiments, there is a marked difference 
between man and animals, and a decided inferiority of the latter. 
The attachment of the mother to the offspring, so long as its 
wants and feebleness require her aid and defence, seems as 
strong in the animal, as in the human being ; and bears equally 
in both the characters of actions termed instinctive. Its dura- 
tion is confined in the former case, even in social animals, to 
the period of helplessness ; and the animal instinct is not suc- 
ceeded, as in man, by that continued intercourse of affection and 
kind offices, and those endearing relations, which constitute the 
most exalted pleasures of human life. 

Of courage the animal kingdom offers many examples ; and 
the morahsts have celebrated the attachment of the dog to his 
master. It may be doubted whether we can find any instances 
of such feeling between animals themselves, excepting some 
cases of sexual unions. In general, they seem entirely destitute 
of sympathy with each other, indifferent to each other's suf- 
ferings or joys, and unmoved by the worst usage or acutest 
pangs of their fellows. Indeed, if we except some associated 
labours in the insect class, principally referring to the conti- 
nuation of the species, and securing a supply of food, and some 
joint operations of the male and female in the higher classes, 
animals seem entirely incapable of concert or co-operation for 
common purposes, of combining various exertions for the 
attainment of a common end. This appears to arise from the 
limited nature and extent of their knowing and reflecting 


])o\vers ; to which probably we must refer their incapability of 
conceiving moral relations. 

Laughter and weeping are natural signs in man of certain 
mental altections, and probably are also peculiar to him : ani- 
mals are not susceptible of the emotions or states of mind indi- 
cated by these external signs. 

That many animals besides man secrete tears is well known ; 
but whether they weep from grief is doubtful : yet respectable 
witnesses have represented that they do so. Steller states 
this of the phoca ursina ;* Pallas, of the camel ;t and Hum- 
boldt, of a small American monkey. | 

Whether any animals e.xpress mirth or satisfaction by laughter 
is more doubtful, to say nothing of the other causes of smiling 
or laughter in our species. The fact has been asserted, for 
instance, by Le Cat, who says that, he saw the chimpanse both 
laugh and weep.§ The orang-outang brought from Batavia by 
Mr. Abel certainly never laughs : his keeper informs me that 
he has seen him weep a few times. 

I have had occasion, in a previous lecture, 1| to advert to these 
striking zoological phenomena, and to explain at some length 
the views which I entertain respecting their nature and cause. 
I consider the differences between man and animals in propen- 
sities, feelings, and intellectual faculties, to be the result of the 
same cause as that which we assign for the variations in other 
functions, viz. difference of organization ; and that the supe- 
riority of man in rational endowments is not greater than the 
more exquisite, complicated, and perfectly developed structure 
of his brain, and particularly of his ample cerebral hemispheres, 
to which the rest of the animal kingdom offers no parallel, nor 

* Nov. Comm. Acad. Scient. Peirop. ii. 353. *' Tandem, cum nos cum catulis 
abituros videiet, simili more ut femella adeo largiter lacrymabat, ut totum 
pectus ad pedes usque lacrymis inundaret, quod et post gravia inflicta vulnera 
contingit ; vel post gravcm illatam injuriam, quam ulcisci nequit. Observavi 
phocas captas simili ratione lacryraari." 

t When the camel will not suckle its young, which is very rare, the Mongols 
and the Daurian Tungooses have recourse to an expedient cletailed by Pallas, 
in which they employ a plaintive melody imitating the voice of the young 
animal. This elicits copious tears from the old one, and completely excites 
its mateiTial feelings. Sammlungen histor. Nachrichten Ub. die Mongolischen 
Volkerschafien ; th. i. p. 177. 

X The Titi of the Orinoco ; sai'miri, Buffon, t. xv ; simia sciurea, Linneus. 
" Leur physionomie est celle d'un enfant; meme expression d'innocence, 
meme sourire raalin, meme rapidite dans le passage de la joie k la tristesse. 
Les Indiens affirment que cet animal pleurecommei'homme, lorsqu'il^prouve 
du chagrin ; et cette observation est tres exacte. Les grands yeux du singe 
se mouUlent de larmes &. I'instant meme qu'il marc^ue de la frayeur ou une 
vive inquietude." Recueil d' Observalio7is de Zoologie et d'Anatomte comparee; 
t. i, p. 333. 

} Fraite de V Existence du Fluide des JVcrfs ; p. 35. 

II Lect. IV. ; p. 60 and following. 



even any near approximation, is sufficient to account for That 
the senses of man and other animals \n]l not explain all their 
varied and wonderful mental phenomena ; and that the supe- 
riority of man can by no means be deduced from any pre- 
eminence in this part of his construction, are truths too obvious 
to require further notice. 

Some modern inquirers have gone beyond this general state- 
ment, and have ventured to particularize, in the brains of ani- 
mals and of man, the oi'gan or residence of each propensity, 
feeling, and intellectual power. I cannot pronounce on the 
accuracy and completeness of the mental and cerebral survey 
executed by Messrs. Gall and Spurzheim ; nor pretend to 
judge of the exactness and fidelity with which the numerous 
positions are marked down in their very complete and well-filled 
map of the brain. They apjjeal to observation for the confirma- 
tion or refutation of their statements ; but my observations are 
not numerous or varied enough for these purposes. No one can 
refuse to them the merit of patient inquiry, careful observation, 
and unprejudiced reflection. They have performed the useful 
service of rescuing us from the trammels of doctrines and 
authorities, and directing our attention to nature. Her instruc- 
tions cannot deceive us : whether the views of Gall and 
Spurzheim may be verified or not, our labours in this direction 
must be productive, must bring with them collateral advantages. 
Hence they may be compared to the old man in the fable, who 
assured his sons, on his death-bed, that a treasure was hidden in 
his vineyard. They began immediately to dig over the whole 
ground in search of it ; and found, indeed, no treasure ; but the 
loosening of the soil, the destruction of the weeds, the admission 
of light and air, were sobeneficial to the vines, that the quantity 
and excellence of the ensuing crop were unprecedented. 

The diseases peculiar to man may be deemed a more fit sub- 
ject for pathology than natural history ; but, as these unnatural 
phenomena arise out of the natural organization and habit of 
the body, and the dispositions of the animal economy, they 
cannot be entirely passed over in this discussion. 

While the causes of disease in general are so obscure, and the 
exact series of phenomena has been ascertained in so few 
instances, it is hazardous to set down any particular affections 
as belonging exclusively to man ; other animals might be 
affected, if exposed to the same causes. Those in a wild state 
have very few and simple diseases, if any : domesticated ones 



have several ; and they are more numerous in proportion as the 
subjugation is more complete, and the way of life differs more 
widely from the natural one. The diseases of our more valuable 
domestic animals are sufficiently numerous to employ a parti- 
cular order of men ; and the horse alone has a distinct set to his 
own share. The miserable canary-birds seem to be equally in 
want of professional assistance ; for, in the list of disorders to 
which they are subject, we find inflammation of the bowels, 
asthma, epilepsy, chancres of the biU, and scabs.* In man, the 
most artificial of aU animals, the most exposed to all the circum- 
stances that can act unfavourably on his frame, diseases are the 
most numerous, and so abundant and diversified, as to exhaust 
the ingenuity of the nosologist, and fatigue the memory of the 
physician. Perhaps nosological catalogues would afford the 
most convincing argument that man has departed from the way 
of life to which nature had destined him ; unless, indeed, it 
should be contended that these afflictions are a necessary part 
of his nature ; — a distinction from animals, of which he will not 
be very likely to boast. 

The accumulation of numbers in large cities, the noxious 
eflFects of impure air, sedentary habits, and unwholesome 
employments ; — the excesses in diet, the luxurious food, the 
heating drinks, the monstrous rmxtures, and the pernicious 
seasonings, which stimulate and oppress the organs ; — the 
unnatural activity of the great cerebral circulation, excited by 
the double impulse of our luxurious habits, and undue mental 
exertions, of the violent passions which agitate and exhaust us, 
the anxiety, chagrin, a.nd vexation, from which few entirely 
escape, and then reacting on and disturbing the whole frame ; — 
the delicacy and sensibility to external influences caused by our 
heated rooms, warm clothing, inactivity, and other indulgencies, 
are so many fatal proofs that our most grievous ills are our own 
work, and might be obviated by a more simple and uniform way 
of life. Our associates of the animal kingdom do not escape 
the influence of such causes. Tlie mountain shepherd and his 
dog are equally hardy, and form an instructive contrast with a 
nervous and hysterical fine lady, and her lap-dog ; the extreme 
point of degeneracy and imbecility of v/hich each race is 

The observations of Humboldt confirm the position, that 
individuals, whose bodies are strengthened by healthy habits in 
• Buffon by Wood ; v. xiv. p. 87. 


respect to food, clothing, exercise, air, &c. are enabled to resist 
the causes which produce disease in other men. He paints to 
us the Indians of New Spain as a set of peacefid cultivators, 
accustomed to uniform nourishment, almost entirely of a vege- 
table nature, that of their maize and cereal gramina. " They* are 
hardly subject to any deformity. I never saw a hunch-backed 
Indian ; and it is extremely rare to see any who squint, or who 
are lame in the arm or leg. In the countries where the inha- 
bitants suflFer from the goitre, this affection of the thjToid gland 
is never observed among the Indians, and seldom among the 

He repeats the same testimony very strongly concerning 
various tribes in South America, as the Chaymas, Caribs, the 
Muyscas, and Peruvian Indians. J 

WiNTERBOTTOM § says, that he never saw, nor heard of, a 
case of hare-lip among the native Africans. But he adds, that 
Atkins mentions a case seen by himself. 

The compaiison of diseases is difficult, since the study of 
nosology in brutes must be exposed, by its very nature, to very 
serious obstacles. The diseases in the following list, derived 
from Blumenbach, may be considered in all probability as 
peculiar to man. 

Nearly all the exanthemata; at least variola,l| morbilli, scar- 
latina, miliaria, petechiae, pestis. 

Of the hemorrhagies, epistaxis ; hemorrhoides, menorrhagia. 

Nervous affections. Hypochondriasis ; hysteria ; mental af- 
fections properly so called, as mania, melancholia, nostalgia; 
properly also satyriasis, and nymidio-mania. Crelinismiis. 

Cachexire. Rachitis? scrofula ?1[ lues venerea. Podagra, 
lepra and elephantiasis. 

Local diseases. Amenorrhoea ? cancer ? chlorosis ; hernia 
congenita ? The various kinds of prolapsus, particularly that 
congenital one of the urinary bladder. Herpes ; tinea capitis. 

The two kinds of lice that infest our sjjccies, have not been 
found on any other animal. Whether the human intestinal 
worms are all distinct species, pecidiar to man, I do not know. 

I recapitulate the characters of man, discussed in the six pre- 

* Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain; v. i. p. 153. 

t The offspring of an Euiopeaa and an American. 

% Personal Narrative, iii. 233. \ Account of the A'ative Africans ; ii. 224. 

II A monkey at Amsterdam contracted a local ulcer from the contagion of 
small-pox, but had no fever. Blumenbach, De g. It. var. nal. p. 5'J. 

IT Monkeys perish in these climates of aflections very much resembling 
scrofula. The lymphatic glands, lungs, and other viscera are diseased ; usually 
tuberculatcd ; and the bones are often affected. 


ceding chapters, that the proofs of his constituting a distinct 
and separate species may be brought together in one view. 

1. Smoothness of the skin, and want of natural offensive weapons, or means 

of defence. 

2. Erect stature ; to which the conformation of the body in general, and that of 

the pelvis, lower limbs, and their muscles in particular, are accommodated. 

3. Incurvation of the sacrum and os coccygis ; and consequent direction of 

the vagin I and urethra forwards. 

4. Articulation of the head with the spinal column by the middle of its basis, 

and want of ligamentum nucha;. 

5. Possession of two hands, and very perfect structure of the hand. 

6. Great proportion of the cranium (cerebral cavitj-) to the face (receptacles 

of the senses and organs of mastication.) 

7. Shortness of the lower jaw, and prominence of its mental portion. 

8. Want of the intermaxillary bone. 

9. Teeth all of equal length, and approximated: inferior incisors perpendicular. 

10. Great development of the cerebral hemispheres. 

11. Great mass of brain in pi'oportion to the size of the nerves connected with it. 
1','. Greater number and development of mental faculties, whether intellectual 

or moral. 

13. Speech. 

14. Capability of inhabiting all climates and situations ; and of living on all 

kinds of food. 

15. Slow growth ; long infancy ; late puberty. 

IG. Menstruation; exercise of the sexual functions not confined to particular 




.^/alemenl of the Subject; Mode of Investigaliun; the Question cannot he settled 
from the Jeirish Saiptures ; nor from other historical Records. The Meaning 
oj .Species and l-'ariety in Zoology ; Aaturc and Extent of Variation. Breed- 
ing as a Criterion of Species. Criterion of Analogy. 

The differences which exist betv/een inhabitants of the diflferent 
regions of the globe, both in boldly formation and in the facul- 
ties of the mind, are so striking, that they must have attracted 
the notice even of superficial observers. With those forms, 
proportions, and colours, which we consider so beautiful in the 
fine figures of Greece, contrast the woolly hair, the flat nose, the 
thick lips, the retreating forehead and advancing jaws, and black 
skin of the Negro ; or the broad square face, narrow oblique 
eyes, beardless chin, coarse straight hair, and olive colour of the 
Calmuck. Compare the ruddy and sanguine European with 
the jet-black African, the red man of America, the yellow Mon- 
golian, or the brown South Sea Islander : the gigantic Pata- 
gonian, to the dwarfish Laplander ; the highly civilized nations 
of Europe, so conspicuous in arts, science, literature, in all that 
can strengthen and adorn society, or exalt and dignify human 
nature, to a troop of naked, shivering, and starved New Hoi- 


landers, a horde of filthy Hottentots, or the whole of the more 
or less barbarous tribes that cover nearly the entire continent of 
Africa. Are these all brethren ? have they descended from one 
stock ? or must we trace them to more than one ? and if so, how 
many Adams must we admit ? 

The phenomena are capable of solution in either of these 
ways : we may suppose that different kinds of men were ori- 
ginally created ; that the forms and properties, of which the 
contrast now strikes us so forcibly, were impressed at first on 
the respective races ; and consequently that the latter, as we 
now see them, must be referred to different original famihes, 
according to which supposition they will form, in the language 
of naturalists, different species. Or, we may suppose, that one 
kind of human beings only was formed in the first instance, and 
account for the diversity, which is now observable, by the 
agency of the various physical and moral causes to which they 
have been subsequently exposed ; in which case they will only 
form different vai ieties of the same species. 

The question belongs to the domain of natural history and 
physiology : we must be contented to proceed in our examina- 
tion in the slow and humble, but sure method of observation. 
It wiU be necessary to ascertain carefully all the differences that 
actually exist between the various races of men ; to compare 
these with the diversities observed among animals ; to apply to 
them all the lights, which human and comparative physiology 
can supply ; and to draw our inferences concerning their nature 
and causes, from all the direct information and aU the analogies, 
which these considerations may unfold. 

In the first place we must dismiss all arguments a priori, as 
entirely inapplicable to the subject. One philosopher tells us, 
that nature does nothing in vain ; that she would not give her- 
self the trouble to create several different stocks, when one 
family would be sufficient to colonise the world in a short space 
of time. Another, with equal speciousness, dilates on the absxir- 
dity of supposing that immense regions should remain for ages 
an unoccupied and dreary waste, while the offspring of a single 
pair was slowly extending over the face of the earth ; or that 
such an admirable variety of islands should display their charms 
in vain, till a shipwreck or some other casual occurrence might 
supply them with inhabitants. He shows how much more con- 
sonant to the wisdom and benevolence of the Deity it would be, 
for the earth to have teemed from the first moment of its pro- 


duction, udth trees and fruits, and to have been occupied by all 
kinds of animals, suited to each soil and sky. I cannot too 
strongly reprobate such idle declamation, which, by Avithdraw- 
ing our attention from the right method of investigation, 
inevitably tends to perpetuate our ignorance of nature. Dr. 
PricHard, in his excellent inaugural discourse on this subject, 
has so well exposed the futihty of such arguments, that I have 
great pleasure in quoting his words. " Hsec quanquam satis 
speciosa videantur, omnia ut fit plerumque in hujusmodi argu- 
mentationibus fluxa et incerta sunt. Qui magna loquuntur, 
tanquam ipsi ex Dei concilio descendissent, neque ut humiles 
ministros, et naturae interpretes oportet, raro lumine quantulo- 
cunque ejus abdita illustrant. lUi quidem dixerunt quomodo 
mundum constituissent, si hoc eorum curationi fuisset com- 
missum ; sed qua rations re ipsa constitutus sit, talibus aus- 
piciis, et latet, et semper latebit." — p. 5. 

Most persons, when they first turn their attention to the sub- 
ject, and select for contemplation strongly marked specimens of 
the varieties of man, wiU be inchned to adopt the supposition 
of originally distinct species. This is the case with Voltaire,* 
who has recurred to the subject repeatedly in his various 
writings, and has expressed himself very positively, ridiculing 
the idea of referring such diflferent beings as the Negro, Euro- 
pean, African, Albino, &c. to the same original. " II n'est 
permis qu'a un aveugle de douter que les blancs, les Negres, les 
Albinos, les Hottentots, les Lappons, les Chinois, les Ameri- 
cains, soient des races entierement diflFerentes."'t- He says of 
the Negroes, " Leurs yeux ronds, leur nez epate, leurs levres 
toujours grosses, leurs oreilles difFe'remment figurees, la laine de 
leur tete, la mesure meme de leur intelligence, mattent entr'eux 
et les autres especes d'hommes des differences prodigieuses. 
Et ce qui demontre qu'ils ne doivent point cette difference a, 
leur climat, ces que des Negres et des Negresses transportes 
dans les pays les plus froids, y produisent toujours des animaux 
de leur espece, et que les mulatares ne sont qu'une race batarde 
d'un noir et d'une blanche, ou d'un blanc et d'une noire. "| 

To these, which are in truth well-founded remarks, although 
in favour of what I think will appear to be the wrong opinion on 

* Hisfoire de Russie sous Pierre le Grand; chap. i. Ussai sur les Mceurs, 
introduction ; and chap, cxlii. Dirtionnaire PhUosophique, art. Homme. 
Lettres d'Amahed, let. iv. Traile de Metaphysiqiic, chap, i In the place last 
quoted, he ^ives a short but lively and interesting sketch of the different races 
of men, and of the distinction between man and animals. 

t Ess. sur les Moeurs. J Ibid. 


the subject, he adds others of a less correct description ; enu- 
merating as proofs of distinct species, the beardlessness of the 
Americans, the black nipples of the Samoiede women, and " le 
tablier que la nature a donne aux Caffres, et dont la peau lache 
et moUe tombe du nombril sur les cuisses."* 

I am not surprised at the view which Voltaire has taken 
of the question ; for first appearances strongly favour his opi- 
nion. This witty and charming writer, who delights us with 
his various excellencies in so many departments of literature 
and philosophy, may be well excused for not having possessed 
sufficient zoological and physiological knowledge to guide his 
judgment on such a point. Indeed, the progress of science and 
discovery, and the more accurate accounts of various people 
procured by modern travellers, have given us advantages which 
he did not possess. We must not, however, follow his example 
in selecting two or three prominent contrasts, and considering 
them alone : such partial and insulated views cannot lead to any 
satisfactory results. It is necessary to examine, not only the 
more marked differences, but also the numerous gradations by 
which opposite extremes are in all cases connected and gradually 
brought together : it is also necessary to cast our view over the 
animal kingdom at large, and to compare with man the various 
living beings which more nearly resemble him. The whole pro- 
ceeding must be governed by the principles of general physiology. 

This disquisition will, perhaps, be deemed superfluous by those, 
who regard the Hebrew Scriptures as writings composed with 
the assistance of divine inspiration, and therefore commanding 
our implicit assent ; who receive, as a narrative of actual events, 
authenticated by the highest sanction, the account contained in 
Genesis of the formation of the world, the creation of man and 
animals, and their dispersion over the face of the globe. 

The Mosaic account does not, however, make it quite clear 
that the inhabitants of all the world descended from Adam and 
EvE.f Moreover, the entire or even partial inspiration of the 

• JSss. sur les Mceurs. 

+ We are tuld, indeed, that " Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she 
was the mother of all living." But in the first chapter of Genesis, we learn 
that God created man male and female ; and this seems to have been previously 
to the formation of Eve, which did not take place until after the garden of 
Eden had been prepared. A^ain, we learn in the fifth chapter of Genesis, that 
" in the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him ; male 
and female created he them ; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, 
in the day when they were created." We find also that Cain, after slaying 
his brother, was married, although no daughters of Eve are mentioned before 
this time, " Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the 
land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, 
and bare Enoch. Indeed it i» said {ch. v. 4), that " the days of Adam, after 


various writings comprehended in the Old Testament has been, 
and is doubted by many persons, including learned divines, and 
distinguished oriental and biblical scholars. The account of the 
creation and of subsequent events, has the allegorical figu- 
rative character common to eastern compositions ; and it is dis- 
tinguished among the cosmogonies by a simple grandeur and 
natural sublimity, as the rest of these wTitings are by appropriate 
beauties in their respective parts not inferior to those of any 
human compositions. 

To the grounds of doubt respecting inspiration, which arise 
from examination of the various narratives, from knowledge of 
the original and other oriental languages, and from the irrecon- 
cilable opposition between the passions and sentiments ascribed 
by the Deity to Moses, and that religion of peace and love un- 
folded by the Evangelists, I have only to add, that the represen- 
tations of all the animals being brought before Adam in the 
first instance,* and subsequently of their being all collected in 
the ark,f if we are to understand them as applied to the living 
inhabitants of the whole world, are zoologically impossible. 

The collection of living beings in one central point, and their 
gradual diflfusion over the whole globe, may not be greatly in- 
consistent with what we know of our own species, and of the few 
more common quadrupeds, which accompany us in our various 
migrations, and are able to sustain with us great varieties of 
climate, food, situation, and all external influences. 

But when we extend our survey to the rest of the mammalia, 
we find at all points abundant proofs of animals being confined 
to particular situations, and being so completely adapted by their 
structure and functions, by their whole organization, economy, 
and habits, to the local peculiarities of temperature, soil, food, 
&c. that they cannot subsist where these are no longer found. 
In proportion as our knowledge of species becomes more exact, 

he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred 3-cars, and he begat sons and 
daughters." This, it should seem, took place after the birth of Seth, and con- 
sequently long after Cain had his wife; for Seth was not born till after the 
death of Abel. If Cain had sisters iirior to that period, from amongst whom 
he might have taken a wife, Moses has not noticed them. 

• "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, 
and every fowl of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would 
call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the 
name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, 
and to every beast of the field." Gen. ii. 19, 20. 

+ " And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thoa bring 
into the ark, to keep them alive with thee ; they shall be male and female. 
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing 
of the earth after his kind ; two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep 
them alive." Gen, vi. 19, 20. 


the j)roofs of this locahty are rendered stronger, and the examples 
of admirable conformity between the organic capabilities of 
animals and the circumstances of the regions which they in- 
habit, are multiplied and strengthened. 

The peculiar adaptation of the camel to the sandy deserts m 
which he is placed, strikes the most cursory observer. The herds 
of antelopes and other ruminant animals, and the great troops 
of solidungular quadrupeds, are not less suited to the boundless 
plains of Asia and Africa ; the vast assemblages of elk and buf- 
falo, to the uninhabited wilds of America ; the tiger to the 
jungles and the thickets of the East Indies ; and the troops of 
sapajous, with their prehensile tails, to the lofty forests of Guiana 
and Brazil. 

Even when the external circumstances are nearly alike, remote 
regions are occupied in most cases by distinct genera or species. 
The lion so common in Africa, is hardly found in Asia, while 
the tiger is peculiar to the latter ; the elephants and rhinoce- 
roses of these two quarters of the world are specifically distinct. 

The instances of America, New Holland, and some other 
islands, afford unanswerable arguments against the creation of 
all animals in one s})ot. None of the mammalia of the southern 
hemisphere, the torrid zone, or even the two northern temperate 
regions, are common to the two continents. When the Spaniards 
landed in the new world, they did not find a single animal they 
were acquainted with ; not one of the quadrupeds of Europe, 
Asia, or Africa. On the other hand, the puma,* the jaguar,t 
the tapir, the cabiai,! the llama,§ the vicugna,|| the sapajous, 
were creatures altogether new to them. No quadrupeds are 
found in both continents except such as dwell north of the Baltic 
in the old, and of Canada in the new world ; such, in short, as 
are capable of bearing the cold of those regions, where the two 
continents approximate to each other. 

Here, indeed, we must guard against the mistakes, which the 
inconsiderate appUcation of the same names to animals, really 
different, though more or less analogous to each other, might 
occasion. We read of American hons ; but the creature so called 
(the puma), although a carnivorous animal, is widely different 

* Couguar (Felis discolor, Linn). 

+ Fells oncii L. American tiger; nearly a match in size and strength for the 
royal tiger ui Bengal. 

i Caviacapybara, L. 

i Camelus Llacma, L. the camel of Peru, and the only beast of burden in the 

country at the time of the Spanish conquest. The guanaco is the wild llama. 

tl Paco ; camelus vicuuna, L. producing tlie fine sott and fawa-coloured wool. 


from the lion of Africa : American monkeys again form a very dis- 
tinct family, without any specific affinity to tliose of the old world. 

A similar phenomenon was again experienced in our own times 
on first exploring the coasts of New Holland and the adjacent 
isles. A dog was indeed found here, whether of the same species 
\vith those we are acquainted with, and introduced from the 
neighbouring islands, is not perhaps yet clearly ascertained. Tliis 
great southern continent contained no other mammiferous ani- 
mals previously known to naturalists ; but, on the contrary, it 
has furnished about forty species, altogether new ; of which the 
kangaroos, the phascolomys, * the dasyuri, the pe'rameles, the 
flying phalangers, f the ornithorhynchi, and the echidnse, have 
astonished zoologists by the novelty and singularity of their 
conformation, contrary to aU the rules hitherto established, and 
at variance with all their systems. X Even the island called 
Van Diemen's Land, although situated so near to New Hol- 
land, and in some degree connected to it by intervening islands, 
has its own peculiar species. § 

The orang-outang is found only on the island of Borneo ; and 
the makis are confined to that of Madagascar, while the neigh- 
bouring continent of Africa has none of them, but numerous 
monkeys instead. 

Even marine animals are confined to particular situations, 
although it might appear so probable a priori, that the waves 
and currents of the ocean would carry them into all situtions, 
and the medium in which they live seems so favourable for their 
transportation. Peron and Le Sueur assert that there is no 
well-known animal of the northern hemisphere, which is not spe- 
cifically distinct from every other equally well-knoivn of the 
southern; and that this is true even of those possessing the lowest 
and simplest organization. |1 

* Wombat, Didelpliis ursina of Shaw. + Petaurus, Shaw. 

t Cuvier Re^ne animal ; on the order marsupiaux ; t. i. p. 169, et suiv. 

I " En etiet, tons les aniraaux, que nous avons reoueillis sur la terre de 
Diemen, et qu'on peut regarder eomme plus particulidrement propres au sol, 
tels que les mammifeies, les reptiles, &c. sont sp^cifiquement difler^ns des 
animaux de la Nouvelle Hollande ; la pltipart meme des espfices, quipeuplent 
ce continent, n'existent pas sur la grande ile qui I'avoisine." Peron Foya^c 
de Decouvertes aux 2'erres Australes ; v. ii. p. 165. 

II " Personne plus que nous, il est permis de le dire, n'a recueilli d'animaux 
de I'h^misphere Austral; nous les avons tous observes d^crits, et figurt^s sur les 
lieux : nous en avons rapportes plusieurs milliers d'espdces en Europe ; elles 
sont deposees dans le Museum d'histoire naturelle de Paris. Que Ton com- 
pare ces nombreux aniraaux avec ceux de notre hemisphere, le probleme sera 
bientot resolu, non seulcment pour les especes d'une or^'anization plus parfaite, 
niais encore pour toutes celles qui sont beaucoup ulus simples, et qui, sous ce 
rapport, sembleroient devoir etre nioins varices dans la nature. Qu'on exa- 
mine, nous ne dirons par les doris, les aplysies, les salpas, les nereides, les 
amphinomes, les amphitrites, et cette foule de mollusques et des vers plus 

I 2 


If all the difficulties connected with the facts just recited, 
and U'ith the numerous analogous ones,* which every depart- 
ment of natural history could furnish, were removed, insur- 
mountable obstacles would still be found to this hypothesis of 
the whole globe having received its supply of animals from one 
quarter How could all living beings have been assembled in 
one climate, when many, as the white fox (isatis), the polar bear, 
the walrus, the manita, can exist only in the cold of the polar 
regions, while to others the warmth of the tropic is essential ? 
How could aU have been supplied with food in one spot, since 
many live entirely on vegetables produced only in certain dis- 
tricts ? How could many have passed from the point of assem- 
blage to their actual abode, over mountains, through deserts, 
and even across the seas? How could the polar bear, to whom 
the ice of the frozen regions is necessary, have traversed the 
torrid zone? If we are to believe that the original creation com- 
prehended only a male and female of each species, or that one 
pair only was rescued from an universal deluge, the contradic- 
tions are again increased. The carnivorous animals must have 
soon perished with hunger, or have annihilated most of the other 

Such an assumption, in short, is at variance with all our 
knowledge of living nature. Why should we embrace an hypo- 
thesis so full of contradictions ? — to give to an allegory a literal 
construction, and the character of revelation ; which is so much 
the less necessary here, because we do not follow the same rule 
in other points. The astronomer does not pourtray the hea- 
venly motions, or lay down the laws which govern them, accord- 
ing to the statements in the Jewish Scriptures ; nor does the 
geologist think it necessary to modify the results of experience 
according to the contents of the Mosaic writings. 

composes qui se sont suceessivement offerts h. notre observation ; qu'on de- 
scende jusqii'aux holothuries, aux achnies, aux b^roes, aux m(5duses ; qu'ou 
s'abaisse meme, si Ton veut jusqu'Jl ces eponges informes, que tout le monde 
s'accorde k re^'arder comme le dernier teime de la degradation, ou plutot de la 
simplicitil de I'organization animale; parmi cette multitude, pour ainsi dire 
effrayante, d'aniniaux antarctiques, on verra qu'il n'en est pas un suel qui se 
retrouvedans les mers boreales ; et de cet examenbien r^flechi, de cette lon- 
gue suite de compavaisons rigoureuses, on sera forcd de conclure, ainsi que 
nous avous dtl tious-memes le faire, ' qu'il n'est pas une seule espfece d'ani- 
maux marins bien connue, qui, veritable cosmopolite, soit indistinctement 
propre k toutes les parties du globe.' " — Notice sur les Habitations des Ani- 
maux marins ; in the Voyage aux Terres ^lustrales, I. ii. p. 348, 3-19. 

* Further illustrations of this important subject maj- be seen in Dr. Pri- 
chard's Researches on the Physical History of Man, chap. lii. sec. 2 and 3. Zim- 
mermann, Geographische Geschichte, &c. Rudolphi, Beylrdge zur Anthropologie 
und allgenieinen Naturgeschichte, No.iii. and in the paper of Peron and Le Sueur 
already quoted. 


I conclude, then, that the subject is open for discussion ; and, 
at all events, if the descent of mankind from one stock can be 
proved independently of the Jewish books, the conclusion ^vill 
tend collaterally to establish the authority of these ancient 

It may still be inquired whether history affords no data for 
determining this great problem ; whether the earliest traditions 
and records may not enable us to trace the succession of the 
human race from its origin downwards, or whether we may not 
be able to follow back particular tribes or nations to the period 
of their first descent or establishment. "We soon find that these 
efforts are unavailing ; that neither the annals nor the traditions 
of any people reach back to the remote ages when the various 
ramifications o€ the original stock — if there were any such — 
separated from each other, and took possession of the different 
countries where they are now settled. We cannot trace the 
branches of any such family, nor point out the time and manner 
in which they divided and spread over the face of the globe. 
Even among the most enlightened people the period of authentic 
history is short, and every thing beyond that period is fabulous 
and obscure. 

The Jewish annals, in which it is not always easy to separate and . 
distinguish what ought to be received as literally true, although 
of very high antiquity, merely relate to the transactions of a 
small tribe and some of their neighbours. The Indian and 
Chinese, also very ancient, are equally confined. The phrase 
" Greecia mendax" has long ago afforded a caution against 
placing much reliance on the early traditions transmitted by the 

In the introduction to his great work on language, Adelung* 
has summed up what history discloses to us on this subject ; 
and, as it has an important reference to the present object of 
inquiry, I hope the length of the extract will be excused. 

" Asia has been in all times regarded as the country where the 
human race had its beginning, received its first education, and 
from which its increase was spread over the rest of the globe. 

" Tracing the people up to tribes, and the tribes up to families, 
we are conducted at last, if not by history, at least by the tradi- 
tion of all old people, to a single pair, from which families, 

• Mithridates, oaer allgemeinc Sprachenkunde, See. 1'. Tli. Berlin, 1806. 2'. 
•3'. 4'. Th. von. J. S. Yater, Berlin, 1809—1817, a most important work in rela- 
tion to the history of our species, and the affinities and migrations of various 


tribes, and nations have been successively produced. Tlie 
question has been often asked, what was this first family, and the 
first people descending from it ? where was it settled ? and how 
has it extended so as to fill the four large divisions of the globe ? 
It is a question of fact, and must be answered from history. 
But history is silent ; her first books have been destroyed by 
lime, and the few lines preserved by Moses are rather calcu- 
lated to excite than satisfy our curiosity, 

" In the first feeble rays of its early dawn, which are faintly 
perceived about 2000 years before the commencement of our 
present chronology, the whole of Asia, and a part of Africa, are 
already occupied with a variety of greater and smaller nations, of 
various manners, rehgion, and language. The warlike struggle 
is already in full activity : here and there are polished states, 
V'ith various useful inventions, which must have required long 
time for their productions, development, and extension. The 
rest of the human race consists of wild hordes occupied merely 
with pastoral jmrsuits, hunting, and robbery ; thus a kind of 
slave-trade is seen in the time of Abraham. Soon after a few 
weak glimmerings of light discover to us Europe in a similar 
state of population, from the Don to the Pillars of Hercules ; 
here and there traces of culture, industry and commerce ; for 
instance, the amber trade -n the Baltic, at least in the time of 
Homer, and that of the British tin. All this is perceived in 
remote obscurit}-, where only a few points of light occasionally 
shoot across, to show us the germs of future history, which is 
still profoundly silent respecting the time end place of such 
events. Nothing is left for us but humbly to assume the garb 
of ignorance, to look round us in the great archives of nature, 
and see if there are any documents which may at least lead us to 
conjectures. Happily there are such. 

" Tlie present structure of the earth's surface teaches us, 
what Moses confirms, that it was formerly covered to a certain 
depth with water, which gradually lessened, from causes 
imknown to us, so that various spots became dry and habitable. 
The highest dry surface on the globe must, therefore, have been 
the earliest inhabited ; and here nature, or rather her Creator, 
wiW. have planted the first people, whose multiplication and 
extension must have followed the continual gradual decrease of 
the water. 

" We must fancy to ourselves this first tribe endowed with all 
human faculties, but not possessing all knowledge and expe- 


rience, the subsequent acquisition of which is left to the natural 
operation of time and circumstances. As nature would not 
unnecessarily expose her first-!)orn and unexperienced son 
to conflicts and dangers, the place of his early abode would 
be so selected, tliat all his wants could be easily satisfied, and 
every thing essential to the pleasure of his existence, readily 
procured. He would be placed, in short, in a garden, or 

" Such a country is found in central Asia, between the 30th 
and 50th degrees of north latitude, and the 90th and 1 10th of 
east longitude (from FeiTo) : a spot which, in respect to its 
height, can only be compared to the lofty plain of Quito in 
South America. From this elevation, of which the great desert 
Gobi, or Shamo, is the vertical point, Asia sinks gradually 
towards all the four quarters. The great chains of mountains, 
running in various directions, arise from it, and contain the 
sources of the great rivers which traverse this division of the 
globe on all sides ; the Selinga, the Ob, the Lena, the Irtisch, 
and the Jenisey, in the north ; the Jaik, the Jihon, the Jemba, 
on the west ; the Amur and the Hoang-ho (or Yellow River), 
towards the east ; the Indus, Ganges, and Burrampooter, on the 
south. If the globe was ever covered ■ndth water, this great 
table land must first have becotne dry, and have appeared like 
an island in the watery expanse. The cold and barren desert of 
Gobi would not, indeed, have been a suitable abode for the first 
people ; but, on its southern declivity we find Thibet, separated 
by high mountains from the rest of the world, and containing 
within its boundaries all varieties of air and climate. If the 
severest cold prevails on its snowy mountains and glaciers, a 
perpetual summer reigns in its valleys and well-watered plains. 
This is the native abode of rice, the vine, pulse, fruit, and all other 
vegetable productions, from which man draws his nourishment. 
Here, too, all the animals are found wild which man has tamed for 
his use, and carried with him over the whole earth ; — the cow*, 

* To determine the original stock of our domestic animals is one of the most 
difficult undertakings in zoology. I know no data on which the ox-kind can 
be referred to any wild species in Asia. Cuvier has concluded, from a minute 
osteological inquiry, that tlie wild ox (nrus or bison of the ancients ; aurochs 
of the Germans), formerly found throughout the greater pari of temperate 
Europe, and still met with in the forests of Lithuania, of the Carpathian and 
Caucasian chains, is not, as most naturalists have supposed, the wild orii;inal 
of our cattle ; but that the characters of the latter are found in certain fossil 
crania ; whence he thinks it probable " that the primary race has been anni- 
hilated by civilization, like Ihat of the camel and dromedary." Des Animaux 
Jossiles, V. iv. ; Buminans Jossiles ; p. 51. 


horse,* ass, f sheep, | goat, § camel, |1 pig, dog, If cat, and 
even the serviceable rein-deer,** his only attendant and 
friend in the icy deserts of the frozen polar regions. Close to 
Thibet, and just on the dechvity of the great central elevation, 
we find the charming region of Cashmire, where great elevation 
converts the southern heat into perpetual spring, and where 
nature has exerted all her powers to produce plants, animals, 
and man, in the highest perfection. No spot on the whole 
earth unites so m.any advantages ; in none could the human 
plant have succeeded so well without any care."tt This spot, 
therefore, seems to unite all the characters of paradise, and to 
be the most appropriate situation in Asia for the birth-place of 
the human race. 

Such is the general result of historical inquiry : it points out 

• Pallas Spicileg. Zool. fasc. xi. p. 5, note b. + Ibid, note c. 

t There are two or three wild species, nearly related to each other, whieh 
seem to have equal claims to be considered as the source of our sheep. Of 
these the argali found in the great mountains of Asia stiongly resembles the 
sheep. Pallas Spicileg. Zool. fasc. xi. tab. 1 and 2. 

\ The wild goat (ajgagrus) is met with in the mountains of Persia, where it 
has the name of paseng or pasan (whence the term pasahr, corrupted into be- 
zoar, applied to their iutestinal concretions), and probably elsewhere, even in 
the Alps of Europe. Cuvior, Menagerie de Museum, 8vo. v. ii. p. 177. The 
ibex (bouquetin) occupies the highest summits of the mountains of the old 
continent: that of Asia is described by Pallas, Sjjic. Zool. f. 11, p. 31, et seq. 
tab. iii. Another species inhabits the chain of Caucasus (capra Caucasica) ; 
Guldeustsedt, Comment. Petrop. 1779, pi. xvi, xvii. 

ll In opposition to the assertion of Buftbu, who represents that the entire 
race is reduced to slavery, and who strangely regards the callosities of its 
chest and limbs as the result of its servile labours. Pallas reports, on the faith 
of the Bucharian merchants, and of the wandering nomades of Asia, that na- 
tive wild camels are still found in the vast plains of the temperate part of this 
continent, and are distinguished from the domesticated animals by their supe- 
rior size, spirit, and swiftness. The northern confines of India, and the deserts 
between it and China, seem to be the native abode of the Bactrian camel, or 
that with two protuberances. The wild camels about the Balchasch Lake and 
Bogdo Mountain are probably produced from those which have been set at 
liberty by the Calmucks from religious motives. Fascie. xi. p. 4, note a. 

IT Pallas seems fully convinced that the jackal, " copiosissimum in universo 
oriente animal," is the source of our dogs, which he closely resembles in 
manners and disposition, being also very like some breeds in size and figure. 
" Homini facillime adsuescit, nunquam, uti lupus et vulpes cicurati, infidi 
animi signa edens, lususve cruentans ; canes non fugit, sed ardenter appetit, 
cum iisque colludit, ut plane nullum sit dubium cum iisdem generaturum, si 
tentetur experimentum. Vocem desiderii caninaj simillimam habet; homini 
Cauda eodem modo abblanditur, et in dorsum provolvi atque manibus demul- 
ceri aniat. Ipse quoque ululatus ejus, cum latratu canum ejulabundo magnam 
habet analogiam. Ergo dubium vix esse puto, hominis speciera, in eadeta 
cum lupo aureo climate naturaliter inquilinam, antiquitus hujus catulis cicu- 
latis domesticos sibi educasse canes, quorum naturalis instinctus jam homini, 
quem feri non multum timeut, amicus, et in venationem pronus erat. " Spicil. 
Zool. fasc. xi. p. 1, note. 

These opinions are confirmed by the statements of Guldenstajdt, who found 
the CEBCum and the teeth perfectly alike in the dog and jackal ; it is not so in 
the wolf. The jackal makes water sideways; " odorat anum alterius; co- 
ha;ret copula junctus." Nov. Comment. Petrop. v. 20, p. 459, tab. xi. 

** The rein-deer is only known at present in the coldest regions. Adelung 
could not, I think, have any sutlicient authority for placing its origin in the 
region and climate which he here describes. 

ft Adelung; 1'. Theil. Einlcitung,-p.Z — 9 


the East as the earliest or original seat of our specieti, the 
source of our domesticated animals, of our principal vegetable 
food, and the cradle of arts and sciences : but it does not fur- 
nish the means of deciding whether the globe has been peopled 
from one or more original stocks, nor enable us to trace satis- 
factorily the mode in which their dissemination has been 

Before entering on the immediate object of this section, it is 
necessary to consider what is the precise acceptation of the 
terms species and varieties in zoology ; what constitutes a 
species, and how varieties arise out of it. 

Animals are characterized by fixed and definite external forms, 
which are transmitted and perpetuated by generation. The 
offspring of sexual unions is marked with all the bodily cha- 
racters of the parents. However strong the impulse may be, 
which leads to the continuation of the species, there seems to be 
an equally powerful aversion to intercourse with, those of other 
species. Hence in the wild state even the most nearly allied do 
not intermix, as the hare and rabbit ; the horse and ass ; the 
different kinds of mice, or of rats. Constant and permanent 
difference, therefore, is the essential notion conveyed by the 
word species ; and, provided it be invariably maintained, it is 
immaterial whether that difference be great or small. Thus the 
specific distinction between the black rat (mus rattus) and the 
brown or Norway rat (m. decumanus), or between the domestic 
mouse (m. musculus) and the field mouse (m. arvalis), is as 
perfect, as between either of these and the elephant. 

By the reproduction of the same characters, and the aversion 
to union with other species, uniformity is maintained ; and the 
lapse of ages produces no deviation from the original model. 
Animals are just the same now as at any, even the remotest 
period of our acquaintance with them. The zoological descrip- 
tions of Aristotle, composed twenty-two centuries ago, ap- 
ply in all points to the individuals of the present time ; and 
every incidental mention of animals, or allusion to their cha- 
racters and prop erties in the writings of historians, poets, fabu- 
lists, confirms this idendity of form and endowments. Every 
work of art, such as statues, paintings, sculptures ; and the 
actual relics in tombs, mummies, &c. all corroborate the proof.* 

• " I have carefully examined the figures of animals and birds engraven on 
the numerous obelisks brought from Eiiypt to ancient Rome. In the general 
character, which is all that can have been preserved, these representations 
perfectly resemble the originals, as we now set; them. My learned colleague, 

I 3 


These remarks are chiefly apphcable to wild animals, which 
remain in places most congenial to their nature ; where the 
climate, seasons, air, soil, supply of food, correspond to their 
organization, economy, and wants. Some of these, however, 
are capable of enduring gi-eater diversity of situation than 
others ; and hence are exposed to considerable differences in 
various external agencies. " The wolf and the fox," says 
CuviER,* " are found from the torrid zone to high northern 
latitudes ; but, in this v/ide extent, the principal difference is a 
little more or less beauty in the fur. I have compared the crania 
of the northern and Egyptian foxes to those of France, and have 
found only individual differences. Wild animals, confined within 
narrow limits, particularly those of the carnivorous order, vary 
still less. A fuller mane is the only circumstance distinguish- 
ing the hyena of Persia from that of Morocco." 

Variations in the quantity and quality of food may cause 
some slight differences : thus the tusks of elephants, or the 
horns of the deer kind, may be larger or longer where the ali- 
ment is more abundant and nutritious. 

There are, however, many animals which are no longer in 
their natural wild state, having been domesticated or reduced to 
slavery by man. Here the original form is no longer strictly 
preserved. De\'iations take place in size, colour, form, propor- 
tions, and quahties ; and the degree of the effect will of course 
be measured by the intensity and duration of the cause. 

The degree of domestication is very various. In some cases 
the animals do not breed in servitude ; consequently each 
individual must be reduced from the original %vild state : here 
no variation occurs. The elephant affords an example. The 
rein-deer is confined within narrow limits as to temperature ; 
and, since it cannot be removed from these, it varies little. 

There are degrees of domestication, dependent probably on 
original capabihties of education. The cat, which is only par- 
tially enslaved, merely varies in the texture and colour of its 
fur ; and inconsiderably in size : but the skeleton of any tame 
cat differs from that of the wild in no essential point. 

The greatest differences are i^roduced when man regulates the 

Mr. Geoffroy St.Hilaive, collected numerous mummies of animals from the 
sepulchres and temples of Upper and Lower Egj^pt. He brought away cats, 
ibises, birds of prey, dogs, monkeys, crocodiles, and an o.\'s head embahned. 
There is no more difference between these relics and the animals we are now 
acquainted with, than between human mummies and the skeletons of tlie pre- 
sent day." — Cwv icT, Kccherches sur les Ossemcrts fossilcs ; i. Disc.prelm.T^.Hf). 
• Jhid. p. 75, 


sexual intercourse of animals : by selecting individuals to breed 
from, he can effect the most surprising changes in form and 
qualities, as the examples of the pig, sheep, horse, cow, and 
dog, wiU abundantly evince. The deviation has become at last 
so great, that the original stock from which the animals de- 
scended is doubtful. 

The herbivorous domestic animals, following us into all cli- 
mates, and governed by us in their food, labour, and external 
defence or protection, exhibit variations which, although appa- 
rently very considerable, are chiefly superficial. The size, the 
greater or less development, or entire want of horns, the nature 
of the hairy covering, and such other points, are the subjects of 
change. The skeleton, the form and connection of the bones, 
the teeth, are never altered. Tlie comparativ^ely imperfect deve- 
lopment of the tusks in the pig, and the consolidation of the toes, 
are the most striking effects produced in this class of animals. 

" The strongest marks of human influence are seen in the 
animals of which man has made the most complete conquest ; 
in the dog, who is so perfectly devoted to us, that he seems to 
have sacrificed to us his individual character, interest, and feel- 
ings. Carried by man all over the world, subjected to the action 
of the most powerful causes, and directed in sexual intercourse 
by the will of their master, the dogs vary in colour, in the quantity 
of hair, which is sometimes entirely lost ; in their nature and 
properties ; in size, which may differ as one to five in linear 
dimensions, or more than one to a hundred in the mass ; in the 
form of the ears, nose, tail ; in the height of the limbs ; in the 
development of the brain, and consequent form of the head, 
which may be slender, Avith elongated muzzle and flat forehead ; 
or short with convex forehead ; so that the apparent differences 
between a mastiff and a spaniel, a greyhound and a poodle, are 
greater than we find between any wild species of the same 
natural genus. Lastly, which is the maximum of variation 
hitherto known in the animal kingdom, there are races of dogs 
with an additional toe and corresponding metatarsal bone on the 
hind foot, as there are six-fingered families in the human species. 
Still, in all these variations, the relations of the bones remain 
the same, and the form of the teeth is never altered."* 

Thus we find that species must be taken in very different 
acceptations in wild and domestic animals ; that while all the 
beings included under the same species exhibit, in the former 

• Cuvier, Recherches sur les Ossemcns fosdles ; i. Disc, prelim, p. 78. 



case, a close and rigorous resemblance, admitting at most of 
slight diversities in colour, fur, size, and development of some 
less important parts ; wider deviations are allowed in the latter, 
than are observed between some wild animals acknowledged to 
belong to different species. 

It may be stated, in the abstract, that all animals which differ 
in such points only as might arise in the natural course of de- 
generation, that is, from recognised causes of variation, belong 
to the same species ; while those different which cannot be ac- 
counted for on this supposition must lead us to class the ani- 
mals which exhibit them in different species. But the chief 
difficulty is to point out the characters by which, in actual prac- 
tice, mere varieties may be distinguished from genuine specific 

The transmission of specific forms by generation, and the 
aversion to unions with those of other kinds, soon led naturalists 
to seek for a criterion of species in breeding.* They esta- 
blished the rule, that those animals which copulate together, and 
produce an offspring equally prolific with themselves, belong to 
one and the same species, ascribing the differences which may 
exist between them to adventitious causes. The high authority 
of BuFPON and Hunter, who adopted this opinion, occasioned 
the criterion of breeding to be very generally relied on. 

If we admit this, the question respecting the human species 
would be immediately solved. For all the races breed together, 
and their offspring is prolific, either with each other, or with any 
of the original races. Indeed, we know no difference in pro- 
ductiveness between such unions and those of the same race. 

This rule, however, involves a petitio principii, in assuming 
that animals of distinct species never produce together a prolific 
offspring. Generally, indeed, hybrid animals, or the offspring 
of any two species, are incapable of generation ; and this is a 
powerful additional provision for preserving unifonnity of spe- 
cies. There are, however, instances, both among the mammalia 
and birds, of individuals belonging to specieS universally held to 
be distinct, uniting and producing young, which were again 
prolific. That the mule can engender with the mare, and that 
the she-mule can conceive, was known to Aristotle. The 
circumstance is said to occur most frequently m warm countries ; 

* The principle lias not escaped common observation : it is expressed in 
the English word breed, and in the German gattung (species), whicn signifies 


but it has taken place in Scotland.* Buffon states that the 
offspring of the he-goat and ewe possesses perfect powers of 
reproduction. We might e.^jpect these animals, with the addi- 
tion also of the chamois (antilope rupicapra), to copulate together 
easily, because they are nearly of the same size, very similar in 
internal structure, accustomed to artificial domestic life, and to 
the society of each other from birth upwards. There is a similar 
facility in some birds belonging to the genera fringiUa, anas, and 
phasianus, where such unions are often fruitful, and produce 
prolific offspring. The cock and hen canary birds produce with 
the hen and cock siskin and goldfinch ;f the hen canary pro- 
duces with the cock chaffinch, bullfinch, yellow-hammer, and 
sparrow. The progeny in all these cases is prolific, and breeds 
not only with both the species from which they spring, but 
like%^dse with each other.J The common cock and the hen 
partridge, as well as the cock and the guinea hen,§ the pheasant 
and the hen,|| can produce together. 

Tlie anser cygnoides (Chinese goose) copulates readily m 
Russia with the common goose, and produces a hybrid but per- 
fectly prohfic offspring ; the race soon returns to the characters 
of the common goose, unless crossed again with the Chinese 

It is true that these unnatural unions take place in animals 
under the power of man, are accomijlished with the assistance 
of contrivance and stratagem, and generally require an attention 
to several preliminary circumstances ; it is also found, that, 
under artificial constraint and privation, unions of distinct spe- 
cies may take place without fecundation, as of the hare and 
bitch,** the bull and mare ;tt they prove, however, suflficiently 
that this affair of generation will not afford the criterion we are 
in search of. 

It was soon found that this rule of reproduction could not be 
applied to domesticated animals, on account of their unnatural 
way of life ; and hence Frisch, towards the beginning of the 
last century, confined it entirely to the wild ones. And here it 
is of little service : for how can we expect ever to bring toge- 
ther those wild species to ascertain the point, particularly when 
they inhabit different countries, as, for instance, the chimpanse 

* Buffon, by Wood, v. iv. p. 200—205. 

+ Buffon, by Wood, v. xiv. p. 63, and following. j Ibid. p. 70. 

5 Ih'd. V. xil. 61. II Pallas, Spicil. Zool. f. xi. p. 36, note 

^ Ihid. Act. Acad. Scient. Petrop. 1780 ; p. 83, note ; p.SG. 
*• Pallas saw this in the instance of a tame hare kept with dogs. Smc. Zool. 
fasc. xi. p. 36, note, t+ Buffon, v. iv, p. 221, 


of Angola and the orang-outang of Borneo ? Nor are there so 
many doubts about these, as about the domesticated animals, 
which are thus excluded. 

The different breeds of dogs, for example, are referred by 
some to different species ; and they are, indeed, sufficiently 
marked by distinctive permanent characters to warrant the 
opinion, if the constancy of such characters were a sufficient 
proof of difference in species. Others, again, refer them all to 
the shepherd's dog ; and others include all the dogs, the wolf, 
fox, and jackal, in one species. The dog and bitch produce 
with the male and female wolf, and with the dog and bitch fox ; 
and the offspring is prolific. Yet we cannot surely ascribe 
animals, which are marked in their wild state by such strong 
characters, of bodily formation, disposition, and habits, as the 
wolf, fox, and jackal, to one and the same species, without over- 
turning all the fundamental principles of zoology, however freely 
they may intermix, and however perfect the reproductive power 
may be in their offspring,* 

We may conclude, then, from a general review of the pre- 
ceding facts, that nature has provided, by the insurmountable 
barriers of instinctive aversion, of sterility in the hybrid offspring, 
and in the allotment of species to different parts of the earth, 
against any corruption or change of species in wild animals. 
We must therefore admit, for all the species which we know at 
present, as sufficiently distinct and constant, a distinct origin 
and common date. On the other hand, the fruitful intermix- 
ture which art has accomplished, of some of these species, will 
not justify us in ascribing to them identity of race or origin, 
when we see them in the natural wild state distinguished by 
constant characters from the type of the neighbouring species, 
and always producing an offspring marked by these characters. 

Since neither the principle of breeding, nor the constancy 

* Pallas entertains the opinion that our sheep, dogs, and perhaps poultry, 
are factitious beings, not des-cended from any siiitjlc wild original, but from a 
mixture of nearly allied prjmitive species, whose hybrid oifsprings have pos- 
sessed prolific powers. He observes that those domesticated animals, which 
either do not intermix with other species, or which produce with others un- 
prolitic progeny, are very little changed, however completely and anciently 
they ma}' have been brought under the dominion of man ; or at least are not 
so c!hanged as to cause any difiiculty respecting their origin. This is the case 
with the horse and ass in all climates; with the ox kind; with the pig; the 
camel and dromedary ; and the rein-deer. He refers our sheep to intermix- 
tures of the Siberian argali (ovisammon), theniouflonof CorsicaandSardinia, 
that of Africa (ovis tragelaphus Guv.), the wild goat of Persia (pasen^, the 
bezoar animal, capra ajgraap-us), the bouquetin (capra ibex), and the wild goat 
of Caucasus (capra Caucasital. The dog he considers to have proceeded from 
the jackal wolf, and fox. Memoire sur la f'aiiation des Aniinaiu:; Acta Acad. 
I'etroji. 1780. 


of particular characters, are sufficient in all cases to enable 
us to judgf! of species, and since these fail, jiarticularly in 
the domestic kinds, where their aid is principally required, 
we must resort at last to the criterion recommended by Blu- 
MENBACH, and draw our notions of species in zoology from 
analogy and probability. If we see two races of animals resem- 
bling each other in general, and differing only in certain respects, 
according with what we have observed in other instances, we 
refer them without hesitation to the same species, although 
the difierence should be so considerable, as to affect the whole 
external appearance. On the contrary, if the difference should 
be of a kind which has never arisen, within our experience of 
the animal kingdom, as a variety, we must pronounce them to 
bel<^g to distinct species, even although there should be, on 
the whole, a great general resemblance between the two. " I 
see," says this acute and judicious naturalist, " a remarkable 
difference between the Asiatic and African elephants in the 
structure of the molar teeth. Whether these inhabitants of 
such distant regions will ever be brought to copulate together, 
and whether this formation be universal, is uncertain : but it 
exists in all the specimens I have seen or heard of, and I know 
no example of molar teeth changed in such a manrer by dege- 
neration, or the action of adventitious causes : therefore I con- 
jecture, from analogy, that these elephants are not mere varieties, 
but truly different species. On the other hand, I hold the ferret 
(.mustela furo) to be only a variety of the pole-cat (m. putorius), 
not so much because they produce together, but because it has 
red pupils ; and the analogy of numerous other instances in- 
duces me to regard all the other mammalia, which are destitute 
of the colouring pigment of the eye, as varieties degenerated 
from their original stocks."* 

This method is the only satisfactory one of investigating the 
varieties of the human species. The diversities of physical and 
moral endowment which characterize the various races of man, 
must be analogous in their nature, causes, and origin, to those 
which are observed in the rest of tlie animal creation ; and must 
therefore be explained on the same principles. 

There is no point of difference between the several races of 

mankind, which has not been found to arise, in at least an equal 

degree, among other animals, as a mere variety, from the usual 

causes of degeneration. Our instances are drawn chiefly from 

• De Gen. hum. Var. nat. pp. 70, 71. 


the domesticated kinds, which, by their association with man, 
lead an unnatural kind of life, are taken into new climates and 
situations, and exposed to various other circumstances, alto- 
gether different from their original destination. Hence they 
run into vai'ieties of form, size, proportions, colour, disposition, 
faculties, which, when they are established as permanent breeds, 
would be considered by a person uninformed on these subjects 
to be originally different species. Wild animals, on the con- 
trary, remaining constantly in the state for which they were 
originally framed, retain permanently their first character. 

Man cannot be called, in the ordinary sense of the term, a 
domesticated animal ; yet he is eminently domestic. Inhabiting 
every climate and soil, acted on by the greatest variety of external 
agencies, using every kind of food, and following every mode 
of life, he must be exposed still more than any animal to the 
causes of degeneration. 

I proceed to consider the circumstances in which the several 
races of men differ from each other, to compare them to the 
corresponding differences of animals, and to show that the par- 
ticular and general results of these inquiries lead us plainly to 
the conclusion, that the various races of human beings are only 
to be regarded as varieties of a single species. Whether this 
one species owes its origin to one pair, a male and a female, is 
a question which zoology does not possess the means of solving; 
a question which is of no more importance respecting our own 
species, than it woiild be in the case of the elephant, lion, or any 
other animal. 


On ike Colmir of the human Species. — Structure of the Parts in which the Colour 
resides. — Enumeration of the various Tints. — Colour and Denomination of the 
mixed Breeds. — Various Colours of Animals. — Production of Varieties. — 
Spotted individuals— Other Properties of the Skin. 

Although a general survey of organized bodies in both the 
animal and vegetable kingdom by no means leads us to regard 
colour as one of their most important distinctions, but, on the 
contrary, will soon con\ance us that it may undergo very signal 
changes without essential alterations of their nature ; and 
although this remark holds equally good of the human subject ; 
yet the different tints and shades of the skin, offering them- 
selves so immediately to observation, and forcing themselves, 
in a manner on the attention of the most incurious, have always 


6€en regarded by the generality of mankind as the most charac- 
teristic attribute of the various races. These several hues form, 
indeed, very constant hereditary characters, clearly influenced 
by the colour of both parents in the mixed offspring of difierent 
varieties, and bearing a very close and nearly uniform relation 
to that of the hair and iris, as well as to the whole temperament 
of the individual. 

The skin, in which the colour of animals resides, is a more or 
less dense membrane covering the surface, and generally pro- 
portioned in thickness to the volume of the body ; serving the 
purpose of binding together and protecting the subjacent organs, 
of separating, under the form of sensible and insensible perspi- 
ration, a large quantity of excretory matter, the residue of 
digestion and nutrition, and of establishing the relations between 
the linng frame and surrounding objects. It is the sensitive 
Umit of the body, placed at the extremity of the organs, inces- 
santly exposed to external influences, and thus forming one 
great connexion between animal existence and that of surround- 
ing substances. 

Anatomical analysis resolves this apparently single envelop 
of our organs, commonly called skin, into two or more strata, 
technically termed the common integuments. 

Tlie most considerable and important of these, making up, 
indeed, the chief bulk of the skin, is the cutis vera, or true skin, 
dermis, corium, le corion Fr. ; — the part which, when prepared 
by the chemical process of tanning, constitutes leather. It is a 
comj)act and strong areolar tissue, composed of a dense fibrous 
substance, with numerous vacuities or intervals. The inter- 
texture of the fibrous or cellular tissue is close and compact on 
its external surface, so as to resemble the smooth continuity of 
a membrane ; more loose, with large areolae on the opposite or 
adhering aspect ; where the fibrous threads are lost in those of 
the subjacent cellular or adipous tissue. Immersion in water 
softens the skin by separating the fibres of its corion, and ren- 
dering their intervals more distinct : we then find that the 
areolae are not confined to the external surface, but are pro- 
longed into its substance, which is penetrated by them in its 
whole thickness. They serve for the passage of hairs, exhalants, 
and absorbents, as they come to the surface. 

The areolar tissue of the cutis is permeated in every direction 
by countless myriads of arterial and venous ramifications, of 
which the ultimate capillary divisions occupy the external or 


compact surface of the organ, and form a vascular network over 
the whole body, eluding our inqumes and defying calculation 
by the number and fineness of its tubes. In the glow of ex- 
ercise or the flush of shame, in the excitement of fever, or the 
eruption of measles, scarlatina, &c. these cutaneous vessels are 
filled with blood ; they may be injected with coloured fluids 
after death. Their ramifications are particularly numerous and 
subtle in those parts of the cutaneous organ which possess the 
most exquisite sensibility ; and where the surface is found, on 
minute examination, to be covered by numerous fine processes 
called papillffi or villi.* 

The absorbents of the skin seem nearly equal in number to 
its blood-vessels. 

Numerous nerves enter it in all parts, and distribute their 
largest ramifications in the situations occupied by the papillae. 

The colour of the cutis is uniform, or very nearly so, in all 
the A'arieties of the human race, and depends entirely on the 
state of its capillary blood-vessels. According as they are full 
or empty, it may vary (as we see in the white races) from a more 
or less florid red, constituting what artists call flesh-colour, to 
the waxy paleness of fainting or exhaustion from haemorrhage. 
Maceration in water makes its areolar tissue quite white ; and 
injection with sise coloured by vermillion gives it a deeper or 
lighter shade of red, according to the force employed. 

The cuticle or epidermis, the exterior layer of our common 
integuments, is the thin transparent or light grayish pellicle 
raised by a blister : in the natural state it adheres closely, almost 
inseparably, to the subjacent parts, and is accurately fitted to 
the cutis, having folds and lines corresponding to all the in-- 
equalities of that organ. It presents no traces of fibres, laminse, 
or cells ; it has no blood-vessels, absorbents, or nerves. There- 
fore, though perforated by the hairs, by the excretory tubes of 
cutaneous follicles, by the exhalant mouths of the capillaries, 
and possibly by absorbent orifices, it is incapable of sensation 
and all vital actions, extravascular, inorganic. It is a protecting 
sheath for the finely-organized and sensible skin, and serves the 
further purpose of preventing evaporation, by which that organ 

* The external vascular surface of the cutis, with its papillas or villi, seems 
to he what Bichat has described as a separate stratum, under the name of corps 
reticulaire (Jlnat. generate). I have never seen the distinction. My object, 
here, is not hovi'ever to describe the skin fully, but merely to consider it as the 
seat of colour. They why ivish for further information on the structure of the 
integuments may consult Dr. Rees' Cijclopcrdia, art. Integuments; and Dr. 
Gordon's &jste.m of Human Anatciny, book ii. chap, 4. 


would otherwise be inevitably dried. Thus the external surface 
of our livingr machine is in a manner dead ; and objects applied 
to it act on the cuticular nerves throupfh this insensible medium 
^Tien preternaturally thickened, it destroys sensation ; if re- 
moved, as by blistering, the contact of bodies gives pain, but 
does not produce the appropriate impressions ot touch. 

The cuticle, as well as the cutis, is nearly the same in the 
white and the dark-coloured races ; it is, on the whole, darker 
in the latter than in the former, and possesses a grayish or 
brownish tint. If there are any other slight modifications, they 
have not yet been ascertained. 

A third and more delicate stratum, interposed between the 
epidermis and the true skin, and called the rete or reticulum 
Malpighii or mucosum, has been generally regarded as the seat 
of human colour ; — of all the diversified tints which characterizes 
the various races of men. The softness of its textuie, and its 
perforation by hairs, papillae, &c. account for the name rete 

It is a black layer, about as thick as the cuticle itself, or even 
thicker in the Negro ; and darker coloured on its dermoid than 
on its cviticular surface. Putrefaction detaches it with the 
cuticle from the subjacent cutis ; its further progress resolves 
the soft tissue into a kind of unctuous slimy matter, readily 
washed away from the cuticle and skin. It is not easily sepa- 
rated from the former : indeed it is, under all circumstances, 
very difficult,* and where the skin is delicate quite impossible, 
to exhibit it detached, in any considerable portion, as a distinct 
membrane. It agrees with the cuticle in showing nothing like 
fibrous texture ; in being inorganic and extravascular. It dif- 
fuses itself in water, and communicates a turbid cloud to the 
fluid like that produced by the pigmentum nigrum of the eye ; 
then svibsides as an impalpable powder to the bottom. Thus 
the source of colour in the dark varieties of our species is satis- 
factorily ascertained. 

I have stated elsewhere that " the demonstration of this reticu- 
lar body is much less easy in the white races than in the Negro ; 
and mdeed very little seems to be known concerning its anatomy 
in the former ;" and further, " that it seems really to be a matter 

• Soemmerring experienced this difficulty; he says, "it cannot, without 
much trouble, be shown as a peculiar detaclied membrane ; and I could only 
succeed in the scrotum in exhibiting considerable portions of it as a separate, 
coherent, and independent membrane." Ueber die korperliche Verschiedenheit 
des J^'egers vom Europaer, pp. 45, 4'j. 


of doubt, whether in the white races there be any colouring 
matter in the exterior capillary system analogous to the black 
substance of the Negro, or whether the colour of their surface 
arise merely from that of the cutis and cuticle."* When the 
cuticle separates by putrefaction from the cutis, the surfaces are 
moistened by a putrid offensive fluid ; but I could never detach 
any thing like a distinct membrane, even in the smallest portion.f 
The late Dr. Gordon came to a similar conclusion from his 
investigation of the subject. "After the strictest examination, 
I have not been able to find any light-coloured rate mucosum, 
corresponding to this black one, in the inhabitants of Great Bri- 
tain, nor in those of other nations resembling them in colour. 
I have tried all the means usually said to be necessary for dis- 
covering it, and many others besides, but always without suc- 
cess : I am, therefore, disposed to deny the existence of any such 
membrane in white persons."! 

The differences between black and white men in the texture 
of the rete mucosum are distinctly noted by Blumenbach. 
He states that the native reddish white of the cutis shines through 
the transparent outer coverings in the white races, while in the 
dark the cutaneous pigment is seated in the rete mucosum, the 
epidermis, although pale, manifestly partaking of the tint. He 
adds, " Quo fuscius reticulem sit eo crassius quoque et propius 
ad membranulas sui generis speciem accedens ; quo pellucidius 
contra, eo tenerius, et non nisi difflui muci habitum pree se 
ferens."§ Ha ller || uses a similar contrast ; representing this 
part in the Negro as " involucrum, crassius quam in Europajis, 
et verse membranae simile, cum istis potius mucus sit coactus." 

There is, in the Hunterian collection, a portion of white skin 
with the cuticle turned down ; a small portion of a thin trans- 
parent pellicle has been subsequently separated from the cutis. 
A further examination, particularly in the skins of intermediate 

• Rees' Oyclopcpdia, art. Integuments. 

t Soemmerring remarks that he once found, in an European female, the outer 
covering of the cutis distinctly divisible into two lamellae ; and that he pre- 
serves a specimen of it in his collection. Veh. die korperliche Verschiedenneit, 
&c. p. 45. 

t System of Human Anatomy; v. i. p. 242. I cannot omit this opportunity of 
paying to my deceased friend the small but sincere tribute of my high respect, 
and deep regret for the loss which our science has sustained in his premature 
death. His abilities, acquirements, and zealous devotion to science, were well 
known. At an early age ho had distinguished himself as a teacher and a writer, 
and he set the useful example of appealing in all cases to nature, and admitting 
no statements which he had not personally verified. A brilliant and useful 
career was just opening before him : in the present state of anatomy in this 
kingdom, his labours would have been singularly useful. 

{ De g. h. var, nal, sect, iii. \ 42, H Elem. physiol, lib. xii, sect, i. \ 11. 


tints, will be required in order to settle the point. Although I 
cannot demonstrate rete mucosum in the European, I think that 
there must be under the cuticle some colouring matter: how can 
we otherwise account for the difference between the fair and 
the swarthy, or for the remarkable peculiarity of the Albino ?* 

The colours impressed on the skin in the operation of tattooing, 
which we see so frequently in our sailors, and of which the South 
Sea Islanders exhibit such remarkable and often very elegant spe- 
cimens, reside in the cutis, and are indelible, except by the removal 
or destruction of the part. Tlie cuticle does not partake in the 
effect, which therefore, for obAaous reasons, is brighter and more 
conspicuous when that integument has been removed. 

When we direct our attention to the very numerous colours 
and shades which the several varieties of the great human family 
exhibit, merely with the view of ascertaining with how many 
external modifications nature has been pleased to diversify the 
chef-d'oeuvre of the terrestrial creation, the subject, like all be- 
longing to man, has its attraction and interest. But the inves- 
tigation becomes much more important when it embraces the 
causes of these appearances, and the degree of force belonging 
to each ; when we inquire whether the colour of a people depends 
on the climate of their present or former abode, or on their de- 
scent ; whether that of children is influenced by the climate in 
which they are born, or by the blood of their parents ; whether 
it is a sure token of race and pedigree ; how many principal or 
leading colours we ought to assign to man as at present known; 
and whether any and what number of these are to be deemed 
original or primary. These points are yet undecided, and cer- 
tainly worthy of our attention. 

The very nature of language, the want of adequate expressions 
to denote the endless shades of colour, and the indeterminate- 
ness of those which are applied to various tints, create some 
difficulties in this part of the subject, by producing considerable 
discrepancies in the reports of travellers, which again are of 

• Camper seems to be influenced by similar arguments, rather than by 
direct anatomical evidence, in ascribing a rete mucosum to the white race^. 
" Credibile esse mihi videtur, omnes homines reticulo simili gaudere, quod, 
pro diversis regionibus, et in diversis hominibus non modo, secf in eodem, pro 
partium varietate, diversam superficiem naclum, album, fuscum, vel nigrum 
apparet. Praiparavi cutis portionem, e latere foemina; emortua) depromptam, 
cujus facies, et pectus nive erant candidiora, in qua reticulum intense fuscum 
est." Demonstrat. jlnatinn. paihul. lil). i. cap. 1. 

He repeats in the same page the common representation of the rete mucosum 
not bein" regenerated, and of cicatrices in blacks being therefore white. I 
nave had repeated opportunities of ascertauiiug" that this notion is altogether 


course increased in many cases by haste and carelessness ; by 
superficial examination and loose choice of expressions. The 
same tribe will be very differently described, according to the 
comparison, which the observer makes between them and any 
model in his mind ; or according to the contrast they may pre- 
sent with the lighter, darker, or differently coloured people, whom 
he may have recently observed. 

The human skin is dyed with various tints of white, yellow, 
red, brown, black ; and it exhibits, in degree, every possible 
intermediate shade between the clear snowy whiteness of the 
most delicate European female, or of the Albino, and the deep 
ebony or jet black of a Goldcoast Negress. None of these gra- 
dations obtains so universally as to be found in all the indi- 
viduals of any particular nation, nor is so peculiar to any one 
people, as not to occur occasionally in other widely different 
ones : we may, however, refer the national varieties of colour, on 
the whole, with sufficient accuracy, to the five following princi- 
pal classes : — 

I. White, to which redness of the cheeks is almost wholly 
confined;* being observed, at all events, very rarely in the other 
varieties. It is seen in all the European nations, excepting the 
Laplanders ; in the western Asiatics, as the Turks, Georgians, 
Circassians, Mingrelians, Armenians, Persians, &c. ; and in the 
northern Africans. 

" It is only," says Humboldt, " in white men, that the 
instantaneous penetration of the dermoidal system by the blood 
can take place ; that slight change of the colour of the skin, 
which adds so powerful an expression to the emotion of the 
soul. ' How can those be trusted, who know not how to blush ?' 
says the European in his inveterate hatred to the Negro and the 
Indian. "t 

Yet in some very light examples of the brown and yellow 

* Capt. Cook observes of the Otaheiteans, that "their natural complexion 
is that kind of clear olive or brunette, which many people in Europe prefer to 
the finest white and red. In those, who are exposed to the wind .ind sun, it is 
considerably deepened; but in others, that live undershelter, especially in the 
superior class of women, it continues of its native hue, and the skin Is most 
delicately smooth and soft. They have no tint in the cheeks, which we dis- 
tinguish by the name of colour." Hawkesworth's Voyages, v. ii. p. 187. 

In the mountaineers of Rcotan, which he saw on the road from Tassisudon 
to Teshoo-Loomboo, and who seem to possess all the traits of the IWongolian 
race, Capt. Turner iiarticularly noticed the ruddiness of their countenances. 
Embassy to t/ie Court of the Teshoo Lama, p. 193. 

T Personal Narrative, v. ili. p. 229. 

Mr. Chappell says of the Esquimaux, that "the complexion is a dusky 
yellow, but some of the young women have a little colour bursting through 
this dark tint. ' ' Narraiive of a Voyage tu Iludsun's Bay, p. 58. 


varieties, blushing has been noticed ; as by Forster* in the 
fairest Otaheitean women; and by DAMPiERf in the Tun- 
quinese : " they are," he observes, " of a tawny Indian colour ; 
but, I think, the fairest and clearest I ever saw of that com- 
plexion : for you may perceive a blush or change of colour in 
some of their faces on any sudden surprise of passion, which I 
could never discern in any other Indians." 

Considerable variety, however, will be found to exist in the 
colour known by the general epithet white. 

That singular description of human beings called Albinos, 
possesses a skin of a peculiar reddish, or an unnatural white tint, 
with corresponding yellowish white or milk-white hair, and red, 
or at least very light blue or gray eyes. The cutaneous organ 
has sometimes a roughness, which has been construed as an 
approach to a degree of lepra. t The hair of all parts of the 
body is imnaturally white and soft ; it has not the snowy white- 
ness of old age, nor the elegant light yellow or fla.xen appear- 
ance of the fair-haired (]}londins, Fr.) German variety; but it is 
compared to that of milk or cream, or of a white horse. The 
eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, the hair of other parts, and often a 
soft down covering the whole body, are of the same colour. 
Tlie iris is of a pale rose colour, and the pupil intensely red : § 
these parts, in short, are exactly similar to the corresponding- 
ones in white rabbits and ferrets. || 

• Obserrations made on a f'oyage round the ll'orlrl; p. 229. He says that the 
complexion of the chiefs, or best formed race in Otaheite, is of a white tinctured 
with a brownish yellow, however not so strongly mixed, but that on the cheek 
of the fairest of the women you may easily distinguish a sxjreading blush." 

+ Voyages, v. ii. p. 40. 

i Blumenbach has given an interesting description of two brothers who live 
in the vale of Chamouny. " Cutis eorum, pra^ter iniborem singularem, maxime 
in facie coiispicuum, prajprimis epidermide in niveos et tenellus furfures quasi 
fatiscente, niemorabiliserat. Capilliautem lana; caprina; simik's, turn recto et 
omnis intiexus experto decursu, tum insueto colore ex albosingularitertlaves- 
cente, erant iusi^nes. Quibus etiam cilia, et supercilia, et pubes tenella, cum 
mentum tum reliquum corpus obsidens, respondebant." De Oculis LeuccB- 
thiopum, et Iridis Motu, in Commentation. Keg. Soc. Scient. Goetling. ; v. vii. 

Dr. Winterbottom saw a white African woman with a remarkablj' coarse 
and wrinkled skin ; it was dry and harsh to the touch, and marked with deep 
furrows. It had a reddish tinge in parts exposed to the sun, being of a dirty 
white in other situations. Black spots, like freckles, of the size of a pea, were 
thickly scattered over the skin. Another tall and well-formed white NegX'O 
had a similar rough, harsh, and freckled skin. Another young white Negress 
had the skin of an unpleasant dead-looking white, and" pretty smooth," but 
beginning to assume a cracked appearance from the action of the sun. Account 
of the Nalire African.^, v. ii. pp. 1G7 — 170. 

In five or six seen by Cook at Otaheite, the skin was of a dead white, like the 
nos« of a white horse, scurfy, and covered with a white down ; they had white 
hair, beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Hawkesworth, Voyages ; v. 'ii. p. 188. 

? " Oculi in universum cuniculorum alborum Oiculis perfecte similes : iride 
nempe tenella et fere pellucidula, valde mobili, quasi oscillante, et quse jam 
sub modica hice late expaudebatur; colore diluto, inter pallide violaceum et 
rubellum medio. Pupillis autem saturate rubicundis et fere rutilis, qualis succi 
rubi idaji intensior esse solet." Blumenbach in lib. rit, 

H Two .African Albinos were brought to France, and seen by Voltaire, who 


The characters of the Albino arise from a deficiency of the 
colouring principle, common to the skin, hair, and eyes. Thus 
the former has the hue, which its cellular and vascular contex- 
ture produces ; the hair is reduced to its simple organic ground- 
work ; and in the eyes, which are entirely destitute of pigmen- 
tum, the colour of the iris depends on the fine vessels which are 
so numerous in its composition, and that of the pupil on the 
still greater number of capillaries, which almost entirely form 
the choroid membrane. 

The close connection of these parts, in respect to theii co- 
lour, is e\idenced by the fact that neither is ever separately 

The state of the eyes is the principal source of inconvenience. 
The absence of the black pigment, which has the important 
office of absorbing superfluous portions of light, renders the eye 
preternaturally sensible of this stimulus. Strong lights affect 
the organ painfully ; even the glare of open day is too much. 
Hence the eyelids are more or less closed ; the eyes are described 
as weak and tender ; and sometimes as affected with chronic 
lippitudo. These evils are balanced in some measure by supe- 
rior power of vision in twilight, dusk, or imperfect darkness. 
" Ad nocturnam quidem caliginem, non magis quidquam dis- 
cernere poterant ac alii homines. In crepusculo autem, et ad 
lunae debiliorem lucem, longe acutius ac vulgo possumus vide- 
bant. Fulgida vero lux, sive meridiana sereno caelo, sive can- 
delarum aliusve ignis, non quidem per se valde molestus ipsis 
■\adebatur, verum plane inutihs ; cum quidem eandem sine gra- 
viore incommodo aut dolore perferre possent, non ahter autera 

has selected and shortly characterized their leading traits : " Leur blancheur 
n'est pa5 la notre; rien d'incarnat, nul melange de mane et de brun, c'est une 
couleur de linge, ou plutot de cire blanchie ; leurs eheveux, leurs sourcilssont 
de la plus belle et de la plus douce sole ; leurs 3-eux ne resseniblent en rien 3. 
ceuxdes autres hommes, mais ils approchent beaucoup des yeux de perdrix." 
Essai sur les Mceiirs, Introduction. They are also described by Buffon, Supple- 
ment, t. iv. p. 559. 

Pallas has minutely described a " Leucajthiopissa eles^antissima," -nhom 
he saw in London in 1761. " Sedecim tunc circiter annos nata, et a patre 
atque matre niirritis in Jamaica insula genita dicebatur, de quo tanto minus 
dubitari poterat, quum nihil hybrida; ex albo nigroque parente genitura? simile 
prse se ferret. Statura; erat minoris, artubus et collo turgidulis, cute san« 
guineo-phlegmatica- tinctura; Candida, labiis rubris et rubicundis genis vigens, 
vultu omnino .45thiopis, naso quassato, labiis tumidis, fronte brevi, circum- 
scriptione faciei subrotunda, notis variolarum sparsis cutem minus teneram 
distinguentibus. Oculorum irides neque rubri nee CEesii, sed griseo-lutescentis 
eraut coloris; neque visus nocturnus, sed tamen apertas liicis intolerantia, 
quam prsesertim post variolas ortam narrabant custodes. Cilia et supercilia 
p.iUide flava, et capillitium totura ejusdem quidem coloris (blond) pallide Havi, 
at penitus in densissimos circinnos crispatum, et duriusculam jEthiopis lanam 
ad amussim referens. Hebeti videbatur ingenio, et pudibunda spectatores 
admittebat ; sanissima CcEteroquin et egregia corporis proportione. Cognatos 
omne> nigerrimos .lEthiopes habuisse dicebatur. ' ' Nov<e Species Quadrupedvm, 
pp. 10, 11. Noton. 


Exinde occaecarentur, ac nos ubi solis fulgore aut nivis candore 
subito perstringimur."* 

Mr. Jefferson had seen seven examples of this peculiarity 
in the Negro race. Three of them were sisters ; having two 
other full sisters, who were black. Two of them bore black 
children to black men. They were uncommonly shrewd, quick 
in their apprehension and reply. Their eyes were in a perpe- 
tual tremulous vibration, very weak, and much affected by the 
sun; but they could see better than other persons in the night. 
The fourth is a woman, whose parents came from Guinea, and 
had three other children of their own colour. She is freckled, 
and has such weak eyes, that she is obliged to wear a shade in 
the summer ; but she sees better in the night. She bore an 
Albino child to a black man. Another white Negress had a 
black daughter by a black man. The last instance was a male, 
tall, with tremulous weak eyes.f 

Wafer has given a good description of those which are met 
with in the isthmus of Darien. Their skin is milk-white, much 
like the colour of a white horse, and covered with a short down. 
"Tliey see not very well in the sun, poring in the clearest day; 
their eyes being but weak ; and running with water if the sun 
shine towards them : so that in the daytime they care not to go 
abroad, unless it be a cloudy dark day. But notwithstanding 
their being thus sluggish and dull in the daytime, yet when 
moonshiny nights come, they are all life and activity, running 
abroad and into the woods, skipping about like wild bucks ; and 
running a" fast by moonlight, even in the gloom and shade of 
the woods, as the other Indians by day, being as nimble as they, 
though not so strong and lusty." Hence they are called moon- 
eyed, t 

The peculiarity always exists from birth : it never changes 
afterwards ; and it is propagated by generation. 

In the natural history of our species the Albinos have not met 
with much better treatment than the Negroes ; for some have 
doubted whether they, as well as the latter, belong to the same 
species with us.§ The Negroes were too black, the Albinos too 
white. They have been supposed incapable of propagation. 
They are, in truth, not numerous enough for them to breed 
together, and thus form a permanent variety ; but, that they 

• Blumenbach in lib. cit. t Notes on Virginia, pp. 112 — 130. 

t New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America, p. 134 and seq. 
i Voltaire Essai sur les Mceurs ; introduction ; also chap. 143. 


can both beget and conceive, is most abundantly proved. 1 
know no instance of two being matched together ; but when 
they are paired with common Negroes the offspring is generally 
black, sometimes white. 

Of a white African woman the parents, brothers, and sisters 
were all black. She was married to a black man, and had a 
black child. A white Negro with dirty white woolly hair, red- 
dish brown eyes, and very weak sight, was the son of a white 
Negro. His mother, three brothers, and three sisters were 
black : one sister was white like himself.* 

A classical writer f on the natural history of man has cpn- 
ceived that they labour under a disease, which he refers to the 
cachexise, and considers as akin to leprosy ; and this opinion 
has had so much weight with Dr. Winterbottom, that he 
never mentions the Albinos in his first volume, which contains 
a description of the native Africans ; but thrusts them into the 
second, among the diseases. 

I consider these views completely incorrect. Tlie individuals 
in question do not exhibit a single character of disease. All 
their functions are executed as in other persons. They are born 
of healthy parents, occur among the robust and hardy members 
of savage tribes, and a similar deviation takes place in many 
wild animals. Mr. Jefferson expressly mentions, of the 
seven "cases which he saw in American Creole Negroes, that all 
the individuals were well formed, strong, and healthy. 

The first example mentioned by Dr. Winterbottom X is 
the daughter of two Mulattoes, born in Nova Scotia, who had 
all the Negro features, with woolly hair of a dirty white colour, 
and a skin equalling in whiteness that of an European, without 
any thing disagreeable in its appearance or texture. Her eyes 
were between a red and light hazel colour, and not much 
affected by light. There are no signs here of cachexia or 
leprosy ; nor are there any in the two Swiss youths described 
by Blumenbach, and before him by Saussure.§ They seem 
indeed to be short for their age ; the elder was twenty-two years 
old, mth the stature of fifteen ; the younger seventeen, with 
that of twelve. Two writers of very different characters, who 
had both seen African Albinos, seem to have equally felt that 
the notion of disease was quite unfounded ; and have used the 

* Winterbottom in lib. cit. 

t Blumenbach de g. h. var. nat. sect. iii. \ 77. lie terms it "yarietas genti- 
iitia ex morbosa afl'ectione. " t Lib. cit. ii. 167. 

$ Voyages dans les Alpes, iv. 303. 



very same words in conveying their strong opinion to this effect. 
*' Pretendre que ce sont des Negres nains, dont une espece de 
lepre a blanchi la peau, c'est comme si Ton disoit que les noirs 
eux-memes sont des blancs que la lepre a noircis."* " Cagte- 
rum," says Pallas, " hasce varietates ^thiopum albas non 
magis morbosam naturam (quod Blumenbachio placuit) 
appellari posse puto, quam ipsa yEthiopum nigredo morbus 
est." I 

This variety was first observed in the African, as the great 
difference of colour renders the variation more striking : hence 
the individuals were termed LeucEethiopes,t or white Negroes : 
their peculiar constitution, for the deviation is by no means con- 
fined to the surface of the body, may be conveniently termed, 
after some modern authors, leucgethiopia. From their avoiding 
the light, the Dutch gave them (in the island of Java) the con- 
temptuous appellation of Kakkerlakken, cock-roaches, insects 
that run about in the dark : and hence the French name Cha- 
crelas. The Spaniards called them Albinos, and the French 

So far is this variety from being peculiar to the Negro, or 
even to the torrid zone, that there is no race of men, nor any 
part of the globe, in which it may not occur. Blumexbach § 
has seen sixteen examples of it in various parts of Germany ; 
and it has been also noticed in Denmark, England, H Ireland, 
France, Switzerland, Italy, T the Grecian Archipelago, and 

It is probably more common in Africa, than elsewhere : Dr. 
WiNTERBOTTOM mentions eleven instances among the native 
tribes about Sierra Leone ; and Mr. Jefferson seven among 
the Negro slaves of America. The African Albinos do not pre- 
sent that entire absence of coloviring matter fiom the eye, which 
we observe in the European instances. Mr. Jefferson does 
not mention the colours of the eyes ; but Dr. Winterbottom 
describes them as light blue or brown. They were as weak as 
the red eyes of our Albinos. 

* Voltaire Essai sur les Mwurs, introduction. 

t NortB Species Quadrupedum, p. 11, note. 

t Pliny mentions Leucsethiopes in his Natural History, lib. v. see. 8; aiid 
Ptolemy, lib. iv. c. 6. But whether they mcnn Albinos is doubtful. 

i De g.h. var. nat. p. 278. Medicinische Bihliolhek. t. iii. p. ICl et seq. 

I! An JEnglish Albino is shortly mentioned by Mr. Hunter; Ohs. on certain 
Parts of the Animal Economy, p. ^07. 

T Bu2zi had the opportunity of dissecting one at Milan. I have not suc- 
ceeded in procuring his Disseriasiune sopra una f'arietd particolare d'Uomitii 
bianchi Eliofobi, 4to. Milano, 1784. 

K 2 


Mr. BoWDiCH informed me that the king of Ashantee has 
collected nearly a hundred white Negroes. 

Humboldt* says tha^!: examples of this degeneration are 
rare in the copper-coloured race. Yet they seem rather nu- 
merous by Wafer's description in the isthmus of Darien. In 
the gardens of a palace belonging to Montezuma, were found, at 
the time of the Spanish conquest, among rare birds, and other 
curiosities, " Albinesi d'ogni eta et d'ogni sesso.f 

Dubois states that they are not uncommon among the 
Hindoos. J 

Cook met with them in several islands of the Pacific.§ 

In all cases, however, this leucaethiopic constitution has only 
occurred sporadically, or in detached instances, as a congenital 
variety, from individuals of the ordinary characters in their 
respective races. It has indeed been asserted that whole tribes of 
Albinos exist in Africa,|| Java, Ceylon, and the isthmus of 
Darien,^ but no eye-witness reports such a fact ; and 
Wafer,** whose authority is often cited, expressly mentions 
" that they are not a distinct race by themselves, but now and 
then one is bred of a copper-coloured father and mother." 
Hence the notion of entire leucisethiopic nations may be regarded 
as completely unfounded. 

There is another description of men with a very fair or white 
skin, yellow (flaxen) or red hair, and generally blue or light gray 
ej'es (irides). Such individuals, when the health is good, and 
the circulation active, have a rosy tint, which is deeper and more 
florid in the face. The cutaneous capillares are easily filled ; 
and their " eloquent blood" sympathises with every mental 
emotion. The ancient and modern Germans, and the nations 
descended from them, the Belgians, Dutch, the Danes, Swedes, 
English, &c. have this character. 

Lastly, there is a most extensive race, including nearly all the 

people enumerated in the first division, witli the skin, although 

white, possessing more or less of a brouTi tint, accompanied 

with dark brown or black hair, and dark eyes. 

* Personal Narrative, iii. 288. t Carli Lettere Americane ; t. i. let. 5. 

X On the Character, Manners, S;c. of the People of India; p. 199. 

I At Ot;ilieite; Hawkesworth's Collection, \i. 99, 188: at the Society Isles, 
ami New Caledonia ; Voy. towards the S. Pole, ii. 114 : at Hapaee and Anna- 
mooka ( Friendly Islesl ; Vuy. to the Pacific, i. 381. 

II " Les Albinos sont h. la v6rit6 una nation trds petite et trfis rare ; ils habi- 
tent au milieu de I'Afrique, leur faiblesse ne leur permet gufire de s'^carter 
des cavernes oil ilsdemeurent ; cepondantlesNJgres en attrapentquelquefois, 
et nous les achetons d'eux par curiosity." Voltaire Essai sur les Moeurs, in- 

IT Buffon by Wood ; vol. iii. pp. 3-28— 344— 419. ** Loc. cit. 


II. YellowoT olive (gilvus or buxeus, amiddle tint, between that 
of ripe wheat and boiled quince or dried lemon-peel) characterizes 
the Mongolian tribes, usually called, together with the inha- 
bitants of a great part of Asia, Tartars (Tatars). 

III. Red or copper colour (bronze Fr. an obscure orange or 
rusty iron colour, not unlike the bark of the cinnamon-tree) 
prevails in various shades over nearly the whole continent of 
America, and is almost confined to that division of the globe. 

IV. Brown or tawny (basane Fr. a middle tint between the 
colour of fresh mahogany and of cloves or chesnuts). It cha- 
racterizes the Malays, and most of the inhabitants of the nume- 
rous islands scattered through the Pacific ocean. 

V. Black, in various shades, from the sooty colour or tawny 
black, to that of pitch or ebony, or jet-black. This prevails very 
extensively on the continent of Africa, characterizing all the 
Negro tribes. It is found also in the Negro-like natives of 
New Holland, Van Diemen's Land, Papua or New Guinea, the 
New Hebrides, and other islands of the South Sea ; and is seen, 
mingled vnth. the national colour, in Brazil, California, and 
India. The New Caledonians constitute an insensible transition, 
with the chesnut-coloured islanders of Tongataboo, and the dark 
New Hollanders, from the tawny or brown Otaheiteans to the 
Papuas or Negroes of New Guinea. 

In describing these varieties, it is necessary to fix on the most 
strongly marked tints, between which there is every conceivable 
intermediate shade of colour. The opposite extremes run into 
each other by the nicest and most delicate gradations ; and it is 
the same in every other particular, in which the various tribes 
of the human species differ. This forms no slight objection to 
the hypothesis of distinct species : for, on that supposition, we 
cannot define their number, nor draw out the boundaries that 
divide them ; whereas, m animals most resembling each other, 
the different species are preserved pure and unmixed. Neither 
does the colour, which I have described in general terms as 
belonging to any particular race, prevail so universally in all the 
individuals of that race, as to constitute an inv^ariable character, 
as we should expect if it arose from a cause so uniform as an 
original specific difference : its varieties, on the contrary, point 
out the action of other circumstances. Thus, although the red 
colour is very prevalent on the American continent, travellers 
have observed fair tribes in several parts, as Ulloa* and 
* Foyage to South America ; i. 257, 


BouGUER* in Peru; CooKf and Vancouver t at Nootka 
Sound; Humboldt § near the sources of the Orinoco ; and 
Weld near the United States. The natives of New Zealand 
vary from a deepish black to an olive or yellowish tinge. || In 
the Friendly Islands many of the women are as fair as those of 
Spain or Portugal ; several of both sexes are of an olive colour ; 
and many of a deep brown.*!? 

The domestic animals exhibit varieties entirely analogous to 
those which have been just enumerated ; a fact so familiarly 
known with respect to the sheep, pig, horse, cow, dog, cat, 
rabbit, &c. that it cannot be necessary to support the assertion 
by any details. The leuceethiopic- constitution occurs too in 
^vild and domestic animals, as well as in the human subject. It 
has been observed (not to mention the well-known examples of 
the rabljit, ferret, mouse, horse) in the monkey, squirrel, rat, 
hamster, guinea-pig, mole, opossum, martin, weasel, roe,** fox,ff 
rhinoceros,;!;^ elephant,§§ badger, beaver,|||| bear, camel,^^ buf- 
falo,*** and ass.ttt The crow, blackbird, canary-bird, partridge, 
common fowl, and peacock, are sometimes the subjects of it; 
but it has never been seen in any cold-blooded animal. 

In the leucsethiopic mammalia and birds just enumerated, the 
nature and characters of the deviation seem to be perfectly ana- 
logous to those of the human Albino. The pure whiteness of 
their skin and other integuments, and the redness of the iris and 
pupil, mark the same deficiency of colouring matter. A white 
mouse possessed by Blumenbach also exhibited the into- 
lerance of light, which has been noticed almost universally in 

» Relation ahregce du Voyage, &c. ; in Acad, des Sciences, 1740, p. 274. He 
represents the Peruvians at the foot of the Covdillcras to be nearly as white as 

t He represents the colour of their skin as not Tcry different from that of 
Europeans, but with a pale dull oast. Voyage to the Pacific ; ii. 303. 

X Voyage ; i. 395. 

? Political Essay on the Kingdom of A''eto Spain; i. 144. 

II Anderson, in Cook's Voyage to the Pacific ; i. 154. 

*T Cook's Voyage to the Pacific ; i. 381. 

** Blumenbach de g. h. rar. nat. sect. iii. ? 78. tt Shaw's Zoology. 

Jt Barrow's Travels in South Africa; i. 395. 

il The white elephants are very rare, and highly valued ; they receive the 
greatest care and attention, and aie regarded in some cases with" a kind of re- 
ligious respect. One of his Birman majestj-'s titles is, " Lord of the white 
elephant." Symes' Embassy to Ava; 8vo. v. ii. p. 390 ; and v. iii. p. 338. 

lill The beaver may deviate eitlier into white or black. The white are very 
.'scarce; the black are beautifully glossy, and more common. Hearne's /our- 
'iicy to the JVorthern Ocean, p. 241. 

'■':. " One of the camels was pure white with blue eyes." — ^Elphinstone's 
Account of Cauhul, Introduction, p. 30. 

I'allas mentions the same fact. Travels in tlie Southern Provinces ofiheRm- 
stiiti Emjnre. *** Shaw's Zoology. 

tri Buchanan's Jo^irney from Madras, &c. v. i. p. 7. 


the human examples : the animal kept its eyelids closed even in 
the twilight.* 

AVhen two varieties copulate together, the offspring resembles 
neither parent wholly, but partakes of the form and other pro- 
perties of both. This cannot with propriety l;e termed hybrid 
generation, as authors apply that word to the animals produced 
by the copulation of different species, as of the horse and ass, the 
canary-bird and goldfinch. In this sense hybrids are never 
produced in the human species. " Non desunt," says Blu- 
MENBACH, " historiae nefandaB hominum cum brutis copulae, 
quando aut viri cum bestiarum femellis rem habuerunt, sive 
efirenata libidine rapti,t sive ex vesana continentiae opinione,]; 
sive quod medicum usum ex ejusmodi facinore sperarent ; § 
aut femina sa brutorum masculis || subactas esse relatum est, 
sive violenti stupro id accident, sive soHicitantibus ex libidine 
insanientibus feminis,^ sive prostituentibus sese ex religiosa 
superstione;** nullum tamen unquam a teste fide digno relatum 
comperimus exemplum, ubi fecunda evaserit, ejusmodi copula, 
hybridumque ex hominis cum bestia immani coitu prognatum 
fuerit." Yet the laws of various countries have directed that 
the fruit of such unnatural intercourse should be burned, or 
othenvise destroyed. 

We can only speak, in the human subject, of such hybrids as 
proceed from copulation of the different varieties of one and the 
same species, as of a cart-horse and a racer, the green and white 

• Commentation. Res. Soc. Scient. Cctling. v. vii. p. 34. 

t Th. Warton ad Theocriti Idyll, i. 88, p. 19. " Audivi px docto quodam 
amico, qui per Siciliam insulam iter faciens, ibidem cum Vetera monumentu, 
turn populi mores accuratlus investigaverat, inter confessionis articulos a Si- 
culis caprariis apud montes vitam solitariam degentibus, etiamnum per sacer- 
dotes proprios rite solere exigii an rem cum hircis suis habuerint! " 

t INIart, a Baumgarteii, Peregrinatio in Esyptum, Arahiam, &c. p. 73. " Ex 
Alchanica Egvpti egressi, venimus ad casale qiwddam Belbes dictum, ubi ca- 
rabena; eunti Damascum sumus coujuncti. Ibi vidimus sanctum unum Sara- 
cenicum, inter arenarum cumulos, ita ut ex utero matris prodiit, nudum 
sedentem.^Audivimus sanctum ilium, quem eo loco vidimus, publicitus 
apprime commendari: eum esse hominem sanctum, divinum ac ' integritate 
praecipuum, eo quod nee fominarum unquam esset nee puerorum, sed tan- 
tummodo asellarum concubitor atque mularum.'' 

\ Hoc fine Persas ischiade laborautes onagras iuire Pallas auctor est, in 
Neuen Nordischen Beytragen, p. ii. page 38. 

II Phillips, speaking of the baboons of Guinea, in Churchill's Collection of 
Voyages, v. vi. p. 211, says, " Here are a vast number of overgrown large ba- 
boons, some as big as a large mastiff' dog, which go iu droves of fifty and one 
hundred together, and are very dangerous to be met with, especially by women ; 
whom I have been credibly informed they have often seized upon, ravished, 
and in that kind abused one after another, till they have killed them." 

IT Ita feminas Kamtschadalicas quondam cum canibus coivisse Steller refert, 
in Besclireibung ron Kamtschatka, p. 289. 

•* Ut Mendesia) feminoe cum hirco sacro : de quo singular! ritu videsis uber- 
rime disserentum D'Hancarville in Recherches sur I'Origine des Arts de la Grecp. 
t. i. p. 320. 


canary-birds, &c. These unions have a great effect in changing 
the colour, conformation and other properties of the offspring, 
and are consequently employed with wonderful advantage in 
improving the breeds of our domestic animals, particularly the 
horse, sheep, and cattle. 

Children produced from the copulation of different races ex- 
hibit the middle (or nearly so) between the two tints of their 
parents. Tliis law holds good universally ; cUmate not making 
the smallest difference : Mulattos precisely similar are produced 
from the union of Negroes and Europeans, whether in Africa, 
in the East Indies, in the sugar islands, in North America, or 
in Europe. From a refinement of vanity, the inhabitants of the 
Spanish colonies in America have enriched their language with 
terms for the finest shades, which result from the degeneration 
of the primitive colour ; and have also distinguished the off- 
spring of the various dark-coloured races ^vith the whites. 

In the first generation, the offspring of Europeans and Negroes 
are called Mulattos (mulatre, Fr.). The word Creole (criollo) 
has been frequently confounded with this, even by good writers ; 
but that name, originally applied by the first Negroes conveyed 
to America in the sixteenth century, to their children born in 
that country, and borrowed by the Spaniards from them to 
denote their ovm offspring in the new world,* belongs properly 
to the children of European or Negro parents born in the East 
or West Indies. 

In colour, figure, and moral qvialities, the Mulatto is a me- 
dium between the European and African. The colour is more 
or less yellow, brown, or tawny, according as the European 
father may have been fair or dark ; and the countenance has 
the middle form between that of both parents.f There is no 
redness of the cheek. The hair is curled and black, but much 
longer than that of the Negro ; and the iris is dark. In clean- 
liness, capacity, activity, and courage, they are decidedly supe- 
rior to the Negroes. 

Europeans and Mulattos produce Tercerons (sometimes also 

* Garcilasso del Origen de los Incas, p. 255. We can easily understand how 
the use of the word may have been extended in the West Indies to the animals 
which have been produced from stocks imported from the old world. 

t Whether either colour or sex aiiects the offspring more strongly than the 
other, is an interesting question, which we have not the means of answering 
satisfactorily. I And an opinion expressed, that in the union of the European 
and Negress the nobler blood predominates. 'Bstwxiik, History of Jamaica, 
ii. .^35. There is the same authority for an opinion that male and female 
Mulattos do not produce so many children together, as if they were united 
respectively to Negresses and Europeans. Mr. Long, in his, History qf' Jamaica, 
gives a similar testimony on this point, and that in strong tei-ms. 


called Quarterons, Moriscos, and Mestizos). The hair and 
countenance of these resemble the European ; the former has 
nothing of the grandmother's woolly curl : the skin has a slight 
brown tint, and the cheeks are red. In the Dutch colonies they 
often have blue eyes and fair hair. The stain of the black blood 
is principally visible in the organs of generation : the scrotum 
is blackish in the male, and the labia pudendi dark or purplish 
in the female. 

In political rights these class with the Mulattos in the Euro- 
pean colonies. 

Europeans and Tercerons produce Quarterons or Quadroons 
Cochavones, octavones, or alvinos), which are not to be distin- 
guished from whites : but they are not entitled, in Jamaica at 
least, to the same legal privileges as the Europeans or white 
Creoles, because there is still a contamination of dark blood, 
although no longer visible. It is said to betray itself sometimes 
in a relic of the peculiar strong smell of the great-grandmother. 

The genealogy of these hybrid races is carried into the fifth 
generation, the children of Europeans and Quarterons being 
called Quinterons* (puchuelas Spar.). It is not credible that 
any trace of mixed origin can remain in this case, according to 
the observations of the most judicious eye-witnesses concerning 
the third generation, viz. that in colour and habit of body they 
cannot be distinguished from their European progenitors. Ac- 
cordingly, even the law is now satisfied, and considers them 
sufficiently whitened to enjoy its fuU protection : they are legally 
white, and free. 

By an opposite course of proceeding the Mulatto offspring of 
the European and Negro may be reduced again to the charac- 
ters of the latter. If the Mulatto be paired with a Negro, and 
the children again and again with Negroes, the fourth genera- 
tion is perfectly black. 

Thus, in obedience to that principle by which the properties 
of the offspring depend on those of the parents, we have the 
power of changing one species into another by repeated inter- 
mixture. If the offspring of a white woman and a black be 
matched with a black man, and this process be repeated two or 
three times, the form of the original mother is entirely lost, and 
that of the father substituted ; or vice versa. In this manner 
the colour of the race may be completely changed in three or 

* The offspring of a Quadroon woman and white man is called Mestize, or 
Mustee, according to Edwards, Bist. of the West Indies ; 11. 18; and Winter- 
bottom, Account of the Aaiive Africans; i. 188. 
K 3 


four generations ; while it never has been changed by chraate, 
even in the longest series of ages. 

The offspring of an European and Indian (American) is named 
Mestizo* (mestee, Eng ). The hair is black and straight ; the 
iris dark ; the skin varies according to the tint of the American 
parent. As the latter is by no means so dark-coloured as the 
Negro, the Mestizo is much lighter than the Mulatto. Many 
native Americans are nearly as fair as Europeans ; hence Mes- 
tizos are often not distinguishable by colour from Europeans. 

" A Mestizo," says HuMBOLDT,t " is in colour almost a 
pure white, and his skin is of a particular transparency. The 
small beard, and small hands and feet, and a certain obliquity 
of the eyes, are more frequent indication of the mixture of 
Indian blood, than the nature of the hair." 

They have often some parts of the body darker than others ; 
and this is always the case with the organs of generation in both 
sexes. European fathers and Mestee mothers produce Quar- 
terons, Quatralvi, or Castizos, corresponding to Tercerons in 
the Negro breed, and not distinguishable from Europeans ;X 
Quarteron women with Euro])eans, Ochavons, or Octavons ; and 
Europeans with female Octavons, Puchuelos, which are not only 
not distinguishable in any respect from native Europeans, but 
also enjoy full legal rights and pri\'ileges in the Spanish colonies. 

The offspring of Negroes and Americans are called Zambos 
or Sambos ;§ and sometimes Mulattos. Negroes with Mulattos 
produce Zambos |1 de Mulata (grifFos, or cabros) ; an European 
and Zambo, a Mulatto ; an American and Zambo, a Zambaigo. 
The offspring of the Zambos are styled, in derision, by the 
Spaniards Cholos ; that of a Negro and Zamba is called Zambo 
prieto (black Zambo) .^ 

• They also are sometimes called Mestindi, Metifi, Mamelucki. 

t Political Essay, v. i. p. 244. The testimony of TJlloa is to the same effect. 
" The inhabitants (of Conception) consist of Spaniards, and of Mestizos, who 
in colour are hardly distinguished from the former ; both being very fair, and 
some have even fresh complexions." Voyage to South America; ii. 237. 

t " If a Mestiza marry a white man, the second generation differs hardly in 
any thing from the European race." Humboldt, loc. cit. 

'i " The descendants of Negroes and Indian women bi-ar at Mexico, Lima, 
and even at the Havannah, the strange name of Chino, Chinese. On the coast 
of Caraccas, and, as appears from the laws, even in New Spain, they are called 
Zambos. This last denomination is now principally limited to the descendants 
of a Negro and female Mulatto, or a Negro and a Chinese female." Humboldt, 
loc. cit. 

II " The offspring of a Negro or Negress with a Mulatto man or woman is 
called in the English colonies Sambo. Edwards' Hist, of the West Indies ; 
V. ii. p. 18. 

Ilia MuUitto nnd Terceron, or Tereon and Quarteron, intermix, the off- 
spring are called Tenti en ayreby the Spaniards ; because ^hey remain in the 
same legal condition, neither advancing nor receding. Ulloa, Voyage, i. 30. 


" In a country governed by whites, the famUies reputed to 
have the least mixture of Negro or Mulatto blood are naturally 
the most honoured. Thus, in (Spanish) America, the greater 
or less degree of whiteness of skin decides the rank of an indi- 
vidual in society. A white, who rides barefooted on horseback, 
thinks he belongs to the nobility of the country. \Vhen a 
common man disputes with one of the titled lords of the 
countiy, he is frequently heard to say, ' Do you think me not 
so white as yourself ?' It becomes, consequently, a very inte- 
resting business for the public vanity to estimate accurately the 
fractions* of European blood which belong to the different castes. 

" It often happens that the families suspected of being of 
mixed blood demand from the high court of justice (audiencia) 
to have it declared that they belong to the whites. These decla- 
rations are not always corroborated by the judgment of the 
senses. We see very swarthy Mulattos, who have had the 
address to get themselves whitened (this is the vulgar expres- 
sion). When the colour of the skin is too repugnant to the 
iudgment demanded, the petitioner is contented with an expres- 
sion somewhat problematical. The sentence then simply bears, 
' that such individuals may consider themselves as whites (que 
se tengan por blancos).' "f 

Where several races are brought together, as in some parts of 
Spanish America, and in some European-Asiatic settlements, 
their mixtures \vith each other, and the several crossings between 
the original races and their various descendants, give rise to a 
vast number of mixed breeds, and every possible variety of 
colour. The dark races, and all who are contaminated by any 
\nsible mixture of dark blood, are comprised under the general 
denomination of people of colour. It is not, however, merely 
by this superficial character that they are distinguished ; all 

If a Terceron mixes with a Mulatto woman, or a Quarteron with a Terceron 
woman, the offspring are called Saltatras, or retrogrades ; because they take a 
step backwards towards the Negro blood. Ulloa, Voyage, i. 30. 

* Tlie proportions are represented below according to the principles sanc- 
tioned by usage. 

"Parents. Offspring. Degree of Mixture. 

Negro and European Mulatto .... 4 white i black. 

European and Mulatto .... Terceron v ■ ■ • I i 

Negro and Mulatto Griffo, or Zambo . i black i white 

European and Terceron . . . . Quarteron . . . . | white i black. 

Negro and Terceron I black 4 white. 

European and Quaiteron . . . Quinteron . . , . -j-^ white xV black. 
Negro and Quarteron -j-f black x& white. 

The two latter are respectively white and black; and of these the first are 
white by law, and consequently free in our We&t India islands. All remains 
of colour are so completely banished, that they are not distinguishable from 
whites in any re.spcctt 

T Huniboltlt, FoUt, Essay; i. 2V,, 21". 


Other physical and moral qualities are equally influenced by 
those of the parents. The intellectual and moral character of 
the Europeans is deteriorated by the mixture of black or red 
blood, while on the other hand an infusion of white blood tends, 
in an equal degree, to improve and ennoble the qualities of the 
dark varieties. 

The general law, that animals produce their like, by which 
uniformity of species is maintained, suffers some exceptions. 
Children do not always resemble their parents ; and hence we 
have occasionally persons produced in each race with characters 
approaching to those of the other races. Among the white races 
of Europe scattered instances of individuals with skins nearly as 
dark as those of the Mongols or South Sea Islanders are not 
unfrequent. I lately saw a girl whose dark olive skin and jet 
black hair, very much like those of a Chinese, joined to English 
features, made me suppose that there was some mixture of 
blood : it turned out, however, that her parents were both Eng- 
lish ; the mother dark, but not of so deep a tint as the daughter, 
and the father fair. Among the Otaheiteans, descended from 
the Malay race, individuals with light brown or sandy hair, and 
fair complexion, are not very uncommon :* and Forster saw, 
in the island of Otaha, a man with fair freckled skin and red 
hair.f Red-haired individuals have been observed in most of 
the dark nations, as the Wotiaks, Esquimaux, islanders of New 
Guinea and New Zealand, and the Negroes. J The origin of 
Albinos, particularly in the dark races, is a remarkable example 
of native variety of colour. 

In the mixed breeds, too, although the children generally par- 
take of the character of both parents, they sometimes resemble 
one only; and, in such a case, the influence of the other is often 
observed in the second or third generation. Children may be 
seen like their grandsires, and unlike the father and mother. 

Fit quoque, ut interdum similes exislere avorum 
Possiut, et referant proavorum sa;pe flguras. 

» * * * * « . 

Inde Venus varias producit sorte fieuras, 

Majorumque refeit voltus, vocesque, comasque. — Lucret. lib. ii. 

Thus it is possible that an African Albiness and an European 
may produce together a true Mulatto ; § the offspring receiving 
its dark tint through the mother, although she has it not herself. 

* Forster Ohs. on a Voyage round tlie TForld; p. 229. i Ihid. 230. 

% Blumenbach de g. h. var. nat. p. 169. He himself saw a Mulatto with red 
hair, of -which he procured a specimen. A man of mulatto complexion, 
freckled, with strong red hair, disposed in small wiry curls, and born of black 
parents, was seen by Winterbottom, ii. 170 ; who met with others having r€d 
complexion and hair; i. 193. 5 Stedman's Surinam, ii. 260. 


The offspring of a black and white may be either black or 
white, instead of being mixed ; and in some rare cases it has 
been spotted. 

A black man married a white woman in York : in due course 
of time she had a child that was entirely black, and very much 
hke the father in colour and features, without the least partici- 
pation in the features or colour of the mother. A Negro was 
man-icd in London to a white woman, who afterwards had a 
daughter as fair as any one born of white parents, and like the 
mother in features, but her right buttock and thigh were as 
black as the skin of the father. Two Negro slaves having mar- 
ried in Virginia, the woman brought forth a white girl. The 
husband's father was white, his grandfather and grandmother 
black ; and in every family related to them there had always 
been a white child.* 

A Negress had twins l)y an Englishman : one was perfectly 
black, with short, woolly, curled hair ; the other was light with 
long hair f 

Dr. AViXTERBOTTOM says that in a family of six persons, 
which he knew, one half was almost as light coloured as Mu- 
lattos, while the other was jet black. The father was a deep 
black, the mother a Mulatto. J 

Variations of colour, analogous to those just enumerated, are 
of daily occurrence among animals, as in the production of black 
sheep, cats, horses, foxes, &c. White sheep may produce black 
lambs ; and gray rabbits may bring forth either white (leucae- 
thiopic) or black ones. The production of leucaethiopic animals 
from those of the ordinary colour is very common. In the 
beaver, which is a wild animal, we have either black or leucae- 
thiopic white ones produced from the common animal. Dr. 
Buchanan says of the asses in the Carnatic, that " some are 
of the usual ash colour, whilst others are almost black, in which 
case the cross on the shoulders disappears. MUk-white asses 
are also to be found, but they are rare. These are not varieties 
as to species ; for black individuals have sometimes ash-coloured 
colts ; and, on the contrary, black colts are sometimes produced 
by ash-coloured dams."§ 

Two common peacocks produced fourteen young : two were 
white, the rest resembled their parents. || 

* These instances are related by Dr. Parsons in the Philos. Transact, v. 55 ; 
and seem to be of unquestionable authenticity. 
T White on the Regular Gradation, p. 122. t On the A'ative Africans, i. 188, 
i Journey from Madras through Mysore, &c. ; v. L P. 7. 
II Buffon ; V. xii. p. 286, note. 


The native or congenital varieties thus produced are propa- 
gated by generation, and become estabhshed as permanent 
breeds, if individuals with these new characters constantly in- 
termix, and none others are admitted into the breed. Thus the 
leucsethiopic constitution has become fixed in the white rabbit 
and ferret ; and thus, before our eyes, as conspicuous a devia- 
tion from the common stock has been formed, as any in the 
human race. Black rams are always rejected in breeding, be- 
cause they would transfer their colour to their progeny. In 
many parts of England all the cattle are of one colour : this 
arises from the long-established custom of slaughtering all the 
calves which have not the desired tint. There is no reason to 
doubt that, if the same plan were adopted with the human sub- 
ject, that is, if persons marked by certain native peculiarities 
were united, their offspring again matched with similar indivi- 
duals, and this constantly repeated, any native variety might be 
fixed as a permanent breed. Human Albinos are too few for 
this purpose : hence we have no race in our species like the 
ferret or white rabbit. 

The disposition to change is exhausted in one generation, and 
the characters of the original stock return, unless the variety is 
kept up by the precaution above-mentioned of excluding from 
the breed all which have not the new characters. Thus, when 
African Albinos intermix with the common race, the offspring 
generally is black. The same circumstance is seen in vege- 
tables : the seeds of our fine cultivated apples almost always 
produce the common crab ; and the variegated holly can only 
be preserved as a variety by grafting : when we attempt to pro- 
pagate it by seed, it returns to the common green holly. In 
considering this as an explanation of the mode in which varieties 
of colour may have arisen in the human race, an objection will 
probably occur, that we do not, in point of fact, see Negroes, 
Americans, or Mongols, produced among the white races ; nor 
Europeans among the former. The theory of unity of the spe- 
cies would certainly be untenable, if it depended on proving 
that such varieties occur. But the Negro and the European are 
the two extremes of a very long gradation : between them are 
almost innumerable intermediate stages, which differ from each 
other no more than the individuals occasionally produced in 
every race differ from the generality of the race. 

That the common opmion, which refers the characteristic dif- 
ferences or colour in the varieties of the human species to 


climate, and particularly to the degree of solar heat, is entirely 
unfounded, will, I trust, be fully proved hereafter. Enough 
has now heen said to show that these differences depend on the 
breed ; and that the hue of the offspring follows that of the 
parents, excepting in the rare cases of native or congenital 
variety. The latter examples prove that colour is not an es- 
sential character of race ; that identity of tint is not necessary 
to establish descent from a common stock. These occurrences, 
together with the numerous examples of the widest de\Tiation in 
colour in animals confessedly of the same species, fully autho- 
rize us to conclude, that however striking the contrast may be 
between the fair European and the ebon African, and however 
unwilling the former may be to trace up his pedigree to the 
same Adam with the latter, this superficial distinction is alto- 
gether insufficient to establish diversity of species. 

Examples occur of individuals spotted with different colours ; 
but they are by no means so common as those of spotted ani- 
mals. Persons of the black races are sometimes marked by 
patches of white, of various size and number, without any thing 
like disease of the skin. This circumstance has been observed 
most frequently in Negroes, and generally begins in early 
infancy ; the individuals are called spotted or piebald Negroes, 
in French, Negres-pies. Blumenbach has described a man 
of this kind, whom he saw in London ; a servant to the person 
who kept the animals at Exeter Change. He was a young man 
perfectly black, excepting the umbilical and hypogastric regions 
of the abdomen, and the middle of the lower limbs, including 
the knees and neighbouring parts of the thighs and legs, which 
wei"e of a clear and almost snowy whiteness, but spotted with 
black, like the skin of a panther. His hair was of two colours. 
On the middle of the front of the head, from the vertex to the 
forehead, where it ended in a sharp point, there was a white 
spot, with a yellower tinge than those on the trunk and legs 
The hair covering this was white, but resembled the rest in other 
respects.* On comparing the picture of this man with three 
others (a boy and two girls), he observes that the white spots 
occupied the abdomen and thighs, never appearing on the hands 
and feet, which parts, with the groins, are the first to turn black 
in the newly -born Negroes ; and that the arrangement of the 
white parts was symmetrical. Both the parents of this man, 

* De " h. tar. nat. sect. iii. I 48. Ahhildungen natur-histortscher Gc^en~ 
stdnde; No. 21. Another spotted Negro is delineated in Buifon, Su^J^letneni, 
t. iv. D. 565, tab. 2. 


and of the others,* of whom Blumenbach had collected 
accounts, were entirely black; so that Buffon's conjecture of 
this variety being produced by the cohabitation of a Negro with 
an Albiness, is groundless. 

These spots, in which the epidermis is perfectly healthy, and 
which are distinguishable from the rest of the skin only by their 
whiteness, are not to be confounded with diseases of the organ, 
where the cuticle becomes scaly or branny, which are frequent 
in some of the black races. Nor are they peculiar to dark- 
coloured people. Blumenbach has seen two instances in 
Germans ; one of a youth, the other of a man sixty years old 
They both had a rather tawny skin, marked here and there 
with various sized spots of the clearest white. They appeared 
first in the former in infancy, and in the latter at the age of 

The skin differs in some other properties besides its colour. 
Travellers have described it as remarkably soft and smooth, and, 
as it were, silky in certain races : as in the Carib, Negro,t 
Otaheitean.t and Turk. It secretes a matter of pecuhar odour 
in some races. "The Peruvian Indians," says Humboldt, 
" who in the middle of the night distinguish the different races 
by their quick sense of smell, have formed three words to ex- 
press the odour of the European, the Indian American, and the 
Negro : they call the first pezuna, the second posco, and the 
third graio."§ He adds, that the casts of Indian or African 
blood preserve the odour peculiar to the cutaneous transpiration 
of those primitive races. 


On the Hair, Beard, and Colour of ike Iris. 

Every part of our frame deserves to be attentively considered 
and investigated. The hair, which is found, in various form 
and quantity, over nearly the whole external surface, might 

• Byrd, in the Philos. Transact, v. xix. p. 781, mentions a boj', in whnm 
the spots were first seen in the fourth year, and progressively increased. Mr. 
Jefferson mentions a Negro, born black of black parents, on whose chin, when 
a boy, a white spot appeared. It continued to increase till he became a man, 
when it extended over the rhin, lips, one cheek, the under jaw and neck of 
the same side. Notes on Virginia, p. 120. Another case is mentioned by 
Morgan in Trans, of the Philos. Society of Philadelphia, v. ii. p. 392. 

t " Their skins are always cool, at least more so than those of Europeans in 
the same climate ; and they are also remarkable for their sleekness and velvet- 
like softness." Winterbottom, .Account of the Native Jlfricans ; i. 180. 

t Hawkesworth's Collection of Voyages ; t. ii. p. 187. 

\ Humboldt, Political Essay ; i. 245. 


seem at first view an excrescence hardly worthy of notice. We 
are soon struck, however, with the contrast between man and 
animals, in respect to this growth ; with its general abundance 
over the whole body in the latter, and the comparative naked- 
ness of the former, while in the head these proportions are re- 
versed, and its copious and long growth, to which there is 
nothing parallel in animals, forms a distinguished and peculiar 
ornament, imparting a character of dignity and majesty to the 
human head. It presents, again, well-marked varieties in the 
different races of men : compare the short woolly knots on the 
head of the genuine Negro, or the coarse, straight, and thin hair 
of an American or Mongolian, together with their beardless 
faces, to the ample growth of fine and undulated locks and the 
full beard which so gracefully adorn the head and face of the 
Caucasian races. The physiologist will be interested in examin- 
mg the relation between the hair and the integuments ; and in 
noticing the sexual distinctions, which are more or less strongly 
marked by this production. 

Implanted in the skin, and deriving from the cutaneous ves- 
sels the materials of its growth, the structure and properties of 
the hair are closely allied to those of this organ. The horny 
substance composing it is Very analogous to that of the cuticle ; 
and being equally destitute of vessels, nerves, sensibility, and 
all power of exhibiting vital processes, may be regarded, like it, 
as dead matter. 

Each hair may be traced, through the cuticle and surface of 
the cutis, to a bulb situated partly in the corion of the latter 
organ, and partly in the cellular texture which unites it to the 
subjacent parts. This bulb consists of a dense external cover- 
ing, in which the tubular root of the hair, and a conical vascular 
pulp, by which that root is secreted, are contained.* The vas- 
cular body adds the new matter to the root of the hair, which is 
elongated by these additions, in the same way as the nail grows 
by its root. The conical vascular pulp, and the hollow of the 
hair in which it is lodged, are easily seen in the larger examples, 
which the whiskers of many mammalia afford. The precise re- 
lations of the cuticle and rete mucosum to the hair have not 
been ascertained ; it is not settled whether these coverings are 
simply perforated, or whether productions of them are continued 
over the hairs. It is, however, clear, that the colouring principle 

* See the article Hair in Comparative Anatomy ; in the Cyclopedia of Dr. 
Bees ; contributed by Dr. Macartney, Professor of Anatomy in Trinity College 
Dublin, ° 


IS of a common nature in the skin and hair ; and, moreover, 
that there is a connection between them in texture. 

The colourless Albino has a soft white hair. In the first or 
white variety of the human species, every gradation from the 
fair to the dark is accompanied by correspondent alterations in 
the tint of the hair. This is true, not only of nations, but of 
individuals, in the white races. A light complexion and thin 
skin are accompanied \vith delicate fair or red hair ; a dark one 
and thick skin with black hair, almost invariably, even in indi- 
viduals of the same family; a dilFerence which, according to the 
philosophy of some writers, would be sufficient ground for clscss- 
ing them in distinct species. 

The four coloured varieties of men have black hair, which is 
always stronger and coarser in texture than in the whites. This 
difference is particularly noticed by the Chinese, who con- 
temptuously compare the hair of Europeans to the soft fur of 
the smaller animals. In Negroes, native Americans, and New 
Zealanders, I have found the texture much stronger than in 
the darkest Europeans. A striking proof that the colour of the 
hair depends on that of the skin is afforded by the spotted 
Africans, in whom the hairs growing out of a white patch on 
the head are white.* 

The principal differences of the hair may be brought under 
the four following heads : 

1. Brownish, deviating into yellow (flaxen) or red on one side, 
and black on the other ; copious, soft, long, and forming more 
or less distinct ringlets or undulations It is seen in the tem- 
perate climates of Europe, and its light shades formerly attracted 
particular notice in the ancient Germans. The thin-skinned 
Albino has the softest and most colourless hair; in the Ger- 
manic race it is also very soft and light-coloured ; and red hair 
is usually found in conjunction with a thin and soft skin. The 
Celtic and Slavonic races, which make up the chief population 
of Europe, the eastern Asiatics, and northern Africans, have 
generally, with a rather thicker and darker skin, stronger, black, 
or dark brown, and more or less curling hair. 

The fighter and darker kinds of hair will grow to very consi- 
derable lengths in Europeans, when not cut.f 

* Blumenbach Ahhihlmgen n. h. gegenstande. No. 21. Wliiteon the Regular 
Gradation, &c. ; p. 145. 

t White mentions an Italian lady, in whom the hair trailed on the ground 
vhen she stood upright; the same observation may be made of the Greek 
women. A Prnssian soldier it lon^' enough to reach the ground ; and in 
an English lady it was six feet lonj;. On the Uf^iilar Gradation, pp. 93, 94. 


2. Black, Strong, straight, and thin ; in the Mongohan and 
American varieties. The greater part of the head is shaved by 
the Chinese ; the portion of hair which they leave, often reaches 
the ground. The same remark holds good of the Americans.* 

3. Black, softer, dense, copious, and curled ; in most of the 
South Sea Islanders. 

4. Black and crisp, so as generally to be called woolly; com- 
mon to all the Negro tribes. This is either formed into small 
and short masses, or it may admit of being combed to the 
length of three or four inches, still forming a kind of general 
woolly fleece. 

The analogy, on which the hairy covering of the Africans has 
been called wool, is quite a loose one, and goes no further than a 
slight resemblance in appearance. The filament of wool is rough 
on the surface ; in hair it is smooth. The latter is of an uniform 
thickness throughout, or rather slenderer towards the point, 
while the former is unequal in size, and larger towards its end. 
The thicker part is said to be produced in the summer ; the 
thinner in the winter months. In a variety of experiments 
made by Dr. Anderson f he always found that the growing 
part of the fibre of wool varied in thickness with the tempera- 
ture of the season ; being thickest in summer, smaller in spring 
and autumn, and smallest of all in the winter. Another distinc- 
tion of wool is, that it falls off altogether in a mass ; while human 
hairs always drop off singly and from time to time. 

The above division is sufficient as a general one : but there 
are some exceptions to it. Woolly hair is not confined entirely 
to the Africans, nor is the black colour invariably found in all 
the three last varieties. Bruce describes the Gallas as having 
long hair ; and some brown people (as those of the Duke of 
York's Island near New Ireland in the South Pacific) have it 
strongly curled. 

In the Papuas of New Guinea it is completely frizzled and 
woolly ; but so much longer than in the Negroes, that when 
fully dressed out, according to their favourite fashion, it forms 
a round bush of three feet J in diameter, quite eclipsing our 
most dignified, legal and theological wigs. 

Tlie New Hollanders and the natives of Van Diemen's Land, 

• Mr. llearnc says, that the North American savages leave a single lock on 
the head ; and that he saw some nearly six feet high, in ■whom, when let 
down, it would trail ou the ground, as they walked. Journey to the Frozen 
Ocean, p. 30.3, note. + White on the Regular Gradation, p. 95. 

t Forrest's Voyage to A'ew Guinea. 


form SO complete a medium between the woolly-haired African, 
and the copious curling hair of the other South Sea Islanders, 
that we are completely puzzled hov/ to class them. The diffi- 
culty is greater when we find in this one race many individuals 
with the short crisp knots of the genuine Negro,* and others 
with hair of considerable length. f 

Individual instances of red hair occur in the three J dark- 
coloured varieties of men ; and the soft white hair of the Albino 
is occasionally seen in all of them. 

The animal kingdom furnishes us with numerous parallel 
varieties in the colour and texture of the hair, as, for example, 
in the black sheep, in the black and white horses, in the various 
hues of cattle ; in the white, black, brown, or spotted rabbits ; 
all undoubtedly produced from the original gray stock. 

Sheep exhibit every kind of covering, fi-om the soft and deli- 
cate fleeces of Thibet and Spain, to the coarse and rough hair, 
which takes the place of wool in very warm countries. There is 
a mixture of hair with the wool in the argah, the supposed wild 
original of our flocks. The sheep of some of the Tartar tribes 
have a similar mixture ; and the same thing will occur in this 
country where the breed is neglected. In these cases, if the 
animals with the best fleeces are selected to breed from, and this 
rule be observed constantly, the wool would be gradually im- 
proved, and the hairs disappear ; or, vice versa, the sheep would 
become entirely hairy. 

Goats, rabbits, and cats m Angora, a small district of Asia 

• Peron, Voyage de Dccouvertes mix Tcrres Australes ; p. i. ; pi. 8, 10, 11, 12. 
The individual represented in pi. 11 is a complete Negro in colour and hair : 
all these are natives of Van Dieman's Land. Capt. Cook says, that their hair 
is as woolly as that of any Negro; Voyage to the Pacific ; i. 96 : andMr.Audersoa 
concurs in this representation ; Ihid. 113. 

t Peron, ihid. pi. ITO, represents a New Hollander with large and loose 
curls ; in pl. 18 and 21 the curl is not considerable ; and in the former the hair 
is very Ion". In an individual who came to England, and had learned to pay 
attention to cleanliness and dress, the hair was long and copious. Collins' 
Account o/Neio South Jf'ales, p. 554; and portrait, p. 439. 

" Les habitans de la terre de Diemen ont les cheveux courts, laiueux et 
crepus ; ceux de la Nouvelle HoUande les ont droits, longs, et roides." Peron, 
vol. ii. p. 164. 

% Red-haired Africans and Mulattos are mentioned by Winterbotton, on the 
Native jlfiicans, i. 193 : Blumenbach, de sen. hum. var. nat. p. 169 ; and others. 
Charlevoix mentions similar facts of the Esquimaux, Hist, de la JVouv. France, 
iii. 179 • Gmelin of the Wotiaks, Reise durch Sibirien, i. 89 j and Sonnerat of 
the Pap'uas, Voy. a la JVouv. Guinee, 153. f orster saw individuals with yellowish 
brown or sandy hair at Otaheite ; Obs. on a Voyage round the TForld ; p. 229 ; 
and a sint,'le man at Otaha (one of the Friendly Islands) with perfectly red 
hair, {ibid^230). Among the tawny and black-haired natives of Chinese Tartary, 
and of the neighbouring great island of Tchoka or Sagulien, individuals were 
seen with ches?rut-euloured-hair. Kollin in Perousc's Voyage; v. iii. pp. 235, 
242. Instances of brown and fair (blond) hair occur among the Mongolian 
tribes, according to Pallas, but thoy are very rare. Sammlungcn iibcr die 
Mongolisclien VoUerschci/tm ; I' Th. p. 100. 


Minor, are remarkable for the length and softness, as weU as 
snowy whiteness of their coverings. 

If these goats, and those fiirnishing the material from which 
the precious shawls of Cashmere are fabricated, are of the same 
species with our domestic animal, and \vith the wild goats consi- 
dered as its original stock, the variation far exceeds what we 
observe in the hair of the various human races ; and this, toge- 
ther with the examples of the dog and sheep, will prove to us 
that a difference in the hair is not a sufficient ground for 
establishing a distinction of species. 

The various races of mankind exhibit considerable differences 
in the beard and the hair on other parts of the body, as well as 
in that of the head. One of the most general characters of the 
dark-coloured nations, at least of those which belong to the Mon- 
golian, American, and African varieties, is either an entire want 
of beard, or a verj' thin one developed at a more advanced age, 
than is usual with us : on the contrary, a copious beard has 
always been the pride of the white races : and, from its being a 
distinguishing attribute of the male, has been commonly 
regarded as a mark of masculine strength. Dark-coloured 
nations with strong beards are as uncommon as individuals of 
the white races with an inconsiderable growth of this covering. 
A general smoothness of the whole body is combined with this 
diminution of the beard ; and these characters are rendered 
more striking by the very common practice among the dark- 
coloured nations of carefully eradicating or destroying the hair ; 
which affords another example of their great disposition to 
exaggerate by artificial means whatever may be deemed imperfect 
or defective in their bodily formation. In some mstances nei- 
ther the eyebrows nor the eyelashes* are spared ; nor even the 
hair of the head.f 

The beardlessness of the Mongolian variety, which attracted 
the attention of the older ^vriters,t has been fully confirmed by 
the testimonies of modern travellers. " In all the Mongolian 
tribes," says Pallas, " the adult males have much less beard 
than in the Tartar and European nations ; it also grows later. 
The Calmucks have the most, yet they are very poorly fur- 

• Dobrizhoffer de Ahiponihus; ii. 26. 

T Hearne of the Esquimaux, on the Copper Mine River: "there is one 
custom prevalent among them, riz. that of the men having all the hair of their 
heads pulled out by the roots," &c. Journey to tfw Frozen Ocean, p. 170. 

i Ammianus Ma'rcellinus says of the Huns, "senescunt imberbes, absque 
uUa venustate," xxx. 2. Thinness of the beard is one of the traits ascribed by 
Jornandcs to Attila: " rarus barba." 


nished ; they commonly have small mustachios, and some pre- 
serve besides a tuft on the lower lip." " They have very little 
hair on the body, and the mothers seek to exterminate it in their 
children. But in certain parts, which the Tartar women like to 
keep quite smooth, those of the Calmucks leave the hair undis- 
turbed."* " The Mongols have less beard and thinner hair of 
the head than the Calmucks. The Burats are nearly as beard- 
less as fhe Tungooses and other hordes of Eastern Siberia. 
Without any means of destruction having been resorted to, 
their chin often remains quite smooth even to advanced age. It 
is not common to see a Burat with a beard at the usual com- 
mencement of aduli age ; and they are constantly smooth and 
bald in the rest of the body.f Gmelin observes, " that it is not 
easy to find a beard among the Tungooses or the neighbouring 
tribes. For they eradicate the hair as soon as it appears, and 
repeat this constantly, till at last no more is produced." t 

The Chinese resemble the Mongolian tribes, to which they 
owe their origin, in this deficiency of beard ; although they pre- 
serve it, and encourage the growth as much as they can.§ 

The practice of extermination is mentioned by K^mpfer as 
prevalent in Japan and among the Malays ; by Forrest, among 
the Mindanao islanders; Wilson, in the Pelew Islands; 
Langsdorff, in the Marquesas ; || Carteret, among the 
Papuas; Bougainville, in the Na\'igators' Islands; Mr. 
Marsden, in Sumatra ;^ &c. &c. 

There has been a great dispute about the Americans ; some 
asserting their entire and natural want of beard, and assigning 
this as a proof of their physical inferiority, of that degeneracy, 

• Sammlungen iih. die Mongol, rsikcrsch. I'Tb. p. 100. t Ihid. 171. 

t Reise durch Sihirieii; ii. p. 125. 

\ The Booteeas, or inhabitants of Bootan, have all the characters of the 
B!ongoUan variety, and the deficiency of beard with the rest. "Their skins 
are remarkably smooth, and most of tnem arrive at a very advanced age, before 
thev can boast even the earliest rudiments of a beard." ""Their eyelashes are 
so thin, as to be scarcely perceptible" Turner, Embassy to the Court of Teslioo 
Lama, pp. 84 — 85. 

I! " Tne natives of Nukahiwah consider an entirely smooth skin a great 
beauty, and therefore eradicate the hair under the arms and from the breast." 
Voyages and Travels, &c. p. 114. 

T "The men are beardless, and have chins so remarkably smooth, that 
were it not for the priests displaying a little tuft, we should be apt to conclude 
that nature had refused them this token of manhood. It is the same with 
respect to other parts of the body in both sexes ; and this particular attention 
to their persons they esteem a point of delicacy, and the contrary an unpardon- 
able neglect. The boys, as they approach the age of puberty, rub their chins, 
upper lips, and those parts of the body that are subject to superfluous hair, 
with chunam (quick lime, especially of shells), which destroys the roots of 
the incipient beard. The few pila;, that afterwards appear, are plucked out 
with tweezers, which they alwaj's carry about with them for that purpose." 
Hist, of Sumatra ; Ed. 3, p. 45v 



which is supposed to have affected all animal nature in the new 
world : while others are inclined to ascribe the apparent dif- 
ference entirely to the practice of eradication. 

We have abundant evidence that the American race is cha- 
racterized generally by a small and imperfect beard ; yet there 
are tribes, particularly in North America, ^vith a more copious 
growth. The tall and robust stature of some of the American 
nations which have little beard, proves that the absence of this 
excrescence is not a sure sign of weakness ;* while its existence 
in the New HoUander.f the people of Tanna, MallicoUo.t &c. 
shows that its presence does not necessarily indicate vigour or 

The very competent and respectable testimony of Ulloa, 
establishes a general deficiency of beard among the South Ame- 
ricans. " The Indians have no beard ; and the greatest altera- 
tion occasioned by their arriv-ing at the years of maturity is only 
a few straggling hairs on the chin ; but so short and thin, as 
never to require the assistance of a razor."§ He states in another 
place, II that gray hair and beards indicate in the American race 

• "The Mexicans, particularly those of the Aztec and Otomite races, have 
more beard than I ever saw in any other Indians of South America. Almost 
all the Indians in the neighbourhood of the capital wore small mustachiOs, and 
this is even a mark of the tributary caste. These mustachios, which modem 
travellers have also found among the inhabitants of the north-west coast of 
America, are so much the more curious, as celebrated naturalists have left the 
question undetermined, whether the Americans are naturally destitute of beard 
and of hair on the rest of their bodies, or whether they pluck them carefully 
out. Without enterin" here into physiological details, I can affirm that the 
Indians who inhabit the torrid zone of South America have generally some 
beard; and that this beard increases when they shave themselves, of which 
we have seen examples in the missions of the Capuchins of Caripe, where the 
Indian sextons wish to resemble the monks their masters. But many indivi- 
duals are naturally destitute of beard and hair on their bodies. 

" Mr. De Galeano, in theaccouut of the last Spanish expedition to the Straits 
of Magellan, informs us, that there are many old men among the Patagonians 
with beards, though they are short, and by no means bushy. ( Tlcije al Estrecho 
de Magalhaens, p. .331). On comparing this assertion with the facts collected 
by Marchand, Mears, and especially Air, Volney, in the northern temperate 
zone, we are tempted to believe that the Indians have more and more beard 
in proportion to their distance from the equator. However, this apparent want 
of beard is by no means peculiar to the American race ; for many hordes of 
Eastern Asia, and especially many tribes of African Negroes, have so little 
beard, that we should be almost tempted to deny its existence. The Negroes 
of Congo, and the Caribs, two eminently robust races, frequently of a colossal 
stature, prove that to look on a beardless chin as a sure sign of the degeneration 
and physical weakness of the human species, is a mere phj-siological dream. 
We forget that all which has been observed in the Caucasian races does not 
• apply equally to the Mongol or American race, or to the African Negroes." 
Huniboldt, Political Essay, v. i. p. I4T, 148. 
+ Collins, Account of the English Colony in J\'ew South Wales ; p. 550. 
t The Mallicoliese have strong, crisp, and bushy beards, although they are 
called an " an ape-like nation, "'and the ugliest seen in the South Sea. Cook, 
Voyaae totcards the South Pole; v. ii. p. 34, plate 47. Of theTannese and New 
Celeifonians, see ibid. p. 118; plates 26 and 39: and Forster's Observations, 
p. 238. I Travels in South America; v. i. p. 2G7. 

II Noticicu Americanos; v. ii. It is translated into German and French, 


a very advanced age : the former is not seen till before or about 
tlie seventieth year ; the latter about the age of sixty, and then 
slender and thin. Bouguer, * CHARLEVoix.f the Chevalier 


give similar testimony on this point. 

There is some contradiction in the reports of travellers con- 
cerning the native North Americans : it is, however, easily 
explained on the probable supposition that the proportion of the 
beard varies in dififerent tribes. 

Mr. Hearne observed, of those whom he saw on his journey 
to the Copper Mine River, " that few of the men have any 
beard : this seldom makes its appearance, till they are arrived at 
middle age ; and then in by no means equal quantity to what 
is observed in the generality of the Europeans : the little they 
have, however, is exceedingly strong and bristly." He men- 
tions the practice of eradication ; and adds, that " neither sex 

* Of the Peruvians, " ils n'ont point de barbe, ui ile poi] sur la poitrine, ni 
en aueun endroit du corps." Mem de I'Acad. dcs Sciences, 1740, p. 274. 

+ Joimial His'orique, p. 311. X In Robertson's History of America ; v. i. 460. 

\ De Ahijmnihus, v. ii. 6, 25, and seq. 

II " The Chilians, like the Tartars, have but little beard ; and the custom of 
plucking out the hair, as fast as it grows, makes them appear as if beardless ; 
for this purpose they always carry with thorn a small pair of pincers, vrhich 
fonna a part of their' toilette. There are some of them, however, who have as 
thick a beard as the Spaniards. The hair which marks the age of puberty, they 
have in still greater quantities than the beard. Tlie opinion that a thin beard 
is the mark of a feeble body is not verified in the case of these people. The 
Indians are generally vigorous, and are better able to endure fatigue than the 
Creoles ; for which reason they are always preferred in those employments 
that require strength." Natural History of Chili, p. 275. 

The Araucans " have scarcely any beard, and the smallest hair is never to 
be discerned on their faces, from the care they take to pluck out the little that 
appears." " Tlie same attention is paid to removing it from their bodies, where 
its growth is more abundant." Civil Hist, of Chili, p. 55. 

IT " The Chaymas are almostwithout beard on the chin, like theTungooses, 
and other nations of the Mongol race. They pluck out the few hairs that 
appear ; but it is not correct to say they have no beard, merely because they 
pluck out the hairs. Independently of this custom, the greater part of the 
natives would be nearly beardless." No conti'oversy would have arisen on 
this point, if the correct account given by the first historians of the conquest 
of America had been sufficiently attended to. (See the Journal of Pigafetta, 
published by Amoretti, 1800, p. 18. Benzoni, Storia del Mundo Nuovo, 1572, 
p. 85. Bembo, Hist. Venet. 1557, p. 80.) "The Patagonians andGuaraniesiu 
South America have beards. When the Chaymas, instead of extracting the 
little hair they have on the chin, shave themselves frequently, their beard 
grows. I have seen this experiment tried with success by young Indians, who 
served at mass, and who anxiously wished to resemble the Capuchin fathers, 
their missionaries and instructors. Jlost of the people, however, have as great 
an antipathy to the beard as the Eastern nations have veneration for it. This 
antipathy is derived from the same source as the predilection for fiat foreheads, 
which is seen in so siniriilar a manner in the statues of the Azteck heroes and 
divinities. Nations attach the idea of beauty to every thing which particularly 
characterizes their own physical conformation, their natural physiognomy. 
Hence it results, that if nature have bestowed very little beard, a riarrow fore- 
head, or a brownish red skin, every individual thinks himself beautiful, in 
proportion as his body is destitute of hairs, his head flattened, and his skin 
covered with annatto orchica, or some other coppery red colour." Personal 
Narrative, iii, 237. 


have any hair under their armpits, and very httle on any other 
part of their body, particularly the women."* 

Mr. Mackenzie states that the Knisteneaux " very gene- 
rally extract their beards ; and both sexes manifest a disposition 
to pluck the hair from every part of their body and limbs."t 
Among the Chepewyans " the men in general extract their 
beards ; but some are seen to prefer a bushy black beard to a 
smooth chin." I 

Respecting the Canadian Indians and the adjoining tribes, 
we have a curious statement in the Philosophical Transactions,^ 
communicated by a celebrated Mohawk chief named Thayan- 
DANEEGA, but better known to the English by the name of 
Capt. Brant, whose portrait is represented in Plate IV. 

" The men of the Six Nations have all beards by nature, as 
have hkewise aU other Indian nations of North America, which 
I have seen. Some allow a part of the beard on the chin and 
upper lip to grow ; and a few of the Mohawks shave with razors 
like Europeans ; but the generality pluck out the hairs of the 
beard by the roots, as soon as they begin to appear ; and, as 
they continue this practice all their lives, they appear to have 
no beard, or at most only a few straggling hairs, which they have 
neglected to pluck out. I am, however, of opinion, that if the 
Indians were to shave, they would never have beards, altogether 
so thick as the Europeans ; and there are some to be met with, 
who have actually very little beard." 

The beardlessness of the natives at Nootka Sound is ascribed 
by Cook II entirely to their practice of eradication; and the same 
opinion is expressed respecting the Chopunnish, a tribe on 
Lewis's River, which joins the Columbia, by Captains Lewis 
and Clarke, who are of opinion that several of them would 
have good beards, if they adopted the practice of shaving.lf 

Perouse ** reports, that about one-half of the adult Indians 
in New California had beards, which in some were ample : that 

• Jourripy, ch. ix. p. 305. + Voyages, &e. p. 92. J Ibid. p. 120. 

? For the year 1786; art. 11, communicated by Mr. M'Causland, an army 
surgeon, who had resided for ten years at Niagara, in the midst of the Six 
Nations, and who confirms the statement of the American chief. 

II " Some have no beards at all ; and others only a thin one on the point of 
the chin. This doeSnot arise from an original deficiency of hair in those parts, 
but from their plucking it out by the roots ; for those, who do not destroy it,' 
have not only considerable beards on every part of the chin, but also whiskers, 
ormustachios running from the upper lip to the lower jaw obliquely down- 
wards." Voyaee to the Pacific, v. ii. p. 302. PI. 38, Man of Nootka Sound ; 
pi. 46, Man of Prince William's Sound. 

IT Travels to the Source of the Missouri, p. 556, 557. 

•• Voyage, v. ii. p. 197, 198. 


he could not ascertain whether the deficiency observed in the 
others arose from natural defect, or from the beard being 
pluciied out. 

The genuine Negroes have very little growth of liair on the 
chin,* or on other parts of the body. In a full-grown lad of 
seventeen, there was not the smallest appearance of beard, nor 
of hair on any other part except the head. I never saw any 
hair on the arms, legs, or breasts of Negroes, like what is 
observed on those parts in Europeans. 

Although the South Sea Islanders come under the dark- 
coloured division of the human race, they are not at all deficient 
in beard. The descriptions and figures of Cook concur in 
assigning to them in many cases a copious growth.f 

That a similar connexion in point of colour to that which I 
have just explained between the skin and the hair, exists also 
between the former organ and the eyes, was noticed by Akis- 
TOTLE, who observed that white persons have blue, and dark 
ones black eyes. Thus, in European countries, newly-born 
children have generally light eyes and hair, and both grow 
gradually darker together in individuals of dark complexion. 
Again, in proportion as the hair turns gray in the old subject, 
the pigmentum of the eye loses much of its brown colour.| 
With the colourless skin and hair of the Albinos, is combined 
an entire deficiency § of colouring in matter in the eye ; so that 
the iris and choroid have a more or less red hue -with a tendency 
to violet, from the colour of the blood in their numerous capil- 
laries. Different children of the same family not unfrequently 
have opposite complexions, where one of the parents is fair and 
the other dark : hence we may see brothers and sisters with 
different coloured irides. 

* De Bry states of the Congo Negroes, "Barbae parum habent ; videas enim 
trigesimum astatis agentes annum, quorum genas vix lanugo vestire coepit 
tenerrima. " 

t The portrait of Potatow, an Otaheitean chief, has beard enough for a Jewish 
rabbi. Voyage towards the S. Pole, v. i. p. 1.59, pi. 56. New Zealander, v. ii. 
p. 152, pi. iiS. See also the portrait of Tiarrah, a New Zealand chief, prefixed 
to Savage's Account of JV'ew Zealand. The representations of the Tannese, 
Mallicollese, and New Caledonians have been already quoted ; note +, p. 215. 
Man of Mangeca ; folio atlas to the Foy. to the Pacific; pi. 11. 

t Pigmentum nigrum is an incorrect expression as applied to the human 
eye, in which the matter in question, whether in thechoroid membrane, oron 
the uvea, is always brown. It is neither black, nor of a tint that could be 
mistaken for it, even in the darkest races ; although it is of a deep black in 
our common quadrupeds. 

\ In his " Observations on the Pigmentum of the Eye," Mr. Hunter speaks of 
the white pigmentum of the Albino, white rabbit, white mouse, ferret, &c. 
Obs. on the Animal Ecmiomy. It seems to me easilj' demonstrable tiiat there 
is no colouring matter in these cases ; and that the light rose-colour of the iris, 
and the deeper violet-red of the pupil, depend solely on the blood. 


Those animals only, in which the skin and hair are subject to 
variety of colour, vary in that of the eyes. This is not confined, 
as the ancients thought, to man and the horse, but extends also 
to others, particularly of the domesticated kinds. Moreover, 
the iris sometimes exhibits more than one colour in those ani- 
mals which have a spotted skin ; as was noticed by MoLi- 
NELLi * in dogs. Something of the same kind may be observed 
in sheep and horses ; but Blumenbach says that it is most 
conspicuous in the rabbit ; the gray, or those which retain the 
native colour of their wild state, have brown irides ; those 
spotted with black and white have the irides endently varie- 
gated ; and the white, hke other leucaethiopic animals, have 
them, as is well known, of a pale rose colour. 

The three principal colours of the human eye were well laid 
down by Aristotle ; viz. blue, passing in its lighter tints to 
what we call gray ; an obscure orange, which he calls the colour 
of the eye in the goat (Fr. yeux de chevre), a kind of middle 
tint between blue and orange, and sometimes remarkably green 
in men with very red hair and freckled skin ; and lastly brown 
in various shades, forming in proportion to its depth what we 
call hazel, dark, or black eyes. The red eyes of the leucae- 
thiopic constitution may constitute a fourth division. 

These may all occur in different individuals of the same race ; 
or even of the same family : and again, they are sometimes con- 
fined to the distinct tribes of the same country within the 
limits of a few degrees. Thus LiNNEUsf describes in Sweden 
the Gothlander, with light hair and grayish blue eyes; the Fin 
with yellow hair and brown iris ; and the Laplander with black 
hair and eyes. 

Blue eyes, as well as yellow hair (cserulei oculi, rutilae comae), J 
have characterized the German race from the earliest times ; 
and the same combination is met with, in scattered instances, in 
the most remote nations. The iris of the Negro is the blackest 
we are acquainted with ; so that close inspection is necessary, 
in living individuals, to distinguish it from the pupil. It is 
invariably dark in all the coloured tribes of men ; as well as in 
dark-complexioned individuals of the white variety. 

♦ Comment. Instit. Bonon., t. iii. p. 281. + Fauna Suecica, p. I. 

t Tacitus, Germ. 4. Rutilus is applied to splendid or shining objects, as fire 
and flame; anddenotesfrequently the colour of ^old, as in this case. Thus it has 
here the same meaning as the " auricomi" of Silius applied to the Batavi, and 
the epithet " golden-haired," so common among the earlier German writers. 

L 2 



Differences of Features ; Forms of the Skull ; Teeth; attempted Explanations. 

Although it is a common and very just observation, that two 
individuals are hardly to be met with possessing exactly the 
same features, and although this variety, according with what 
we observe throughout all nature,* is a simple and effectual 
provision for very important ends, yet there is generally a 
certain cast of countenance common to the particular races of 
men, and often to the inhabitants of particular countries. The 
five following varieties are established by BLUMENBAcnf 
after a careful comparison of numerous drawings and of the 
various races themselves, in situations, where commerce attracts 
them from all parts of the globe, as at London and Amsterdam. 
This distribution is only meant to indicate the most leading 
traits ; details and minute particulars are not therefore taken 
into consideration 

1. An oval and straight face, with the different parts mode- 
rately distinct from each other ; high and expanded forehead ; 
nose narrow, and slightly aquiline, or at least with the bridge 
somewhat convex ; no prominence of the cheek-bones ; small 
mouth, with lips slightly turned out, particularly the lower one; 
a full and rounded chin. See Plate I. 

This is the kind of countenance which accords most with our 
ideas of beauty : it may be considered as a middle, departing 
into two extremes, exactly opposed to each other, in most 
respects, yet agreeing in having a low and receding forehead. 
In one, the face is expanded laterally ; in the other, it is length- 
ened forwards or downwards. Each of these includes two 
varieties, which are most readily distinguished by a profile view; 
one, in which the nose and other parts run together ; and the 
other, in which they are more prominent and separate. 

2. Broad and flattened face, with the parts slightly distin- 
guished, and as it were running together : the space between the 
eyes flat and very broad, flat nose, rounded projecting cheeks ; 

* " Prffiterea genus humanum, mutajque natantes 

Squammigerum pecudes, et hcta armenta, feraque, 
Et varia; volucres ; lajtantia <jua> loca aquarum 
Concelebrant, circum ripas, lonteisque, lacusque ; 
Et qua; pervolgant ncmova avia pervolitantes ; 
Horum >inum auodvis genevatini sumere perge ;, 
Invenies tameii inter se distare figuris. 
Kec ratione alia proles cognoscere matrem. 
Nee mater possit prolem ; quod posse videmus. 
Nee minus atque homines inter se nota cluere." — Lucret. L. ii. 
+ De gen. human, var. nat. Sect. iii. } •56. 


narrow and linear aperture of the eyelids extending towards the 
temples (yeux brides, Fr.), the internal angle of the eye de- 
pressed towards the nose, and the superior eyelid continued at 
that part into the inferior by a rounded sweep ; chin shghtly 
prominent. See Plate II. 

This is the face of the Mongolian tribes ; commonly called in 
Enghsh the Tartar face, from the confusion of the Tartars 
(Tatars) with the Mongols. 

3. Face broad, but not flat and depressed, with prominent 
cheek-bones, and the parts when viewed in profile, as it were, 
more deeply and distinctly carved out. Short forehead, eyes 
deeply seated, nose flattish, but prominent. Such is the coun- 
tenance of most Americans. See Plate IV. 

4. Narrow face projecting towards its lower part; narrow, 
slanting, and arched forehead; eyes prominent (afleurde tete) ; 
a thick nose, confused on either side with the projecting cheeks 
(nez epate) ; the lips, particularly the upper one, very thick ; 
the jaws prominent, and the chin retracted. — This is the coun- 
tenance of the Negro — the Guinea face. See Plate III. 

5. The face not so narrow as in the preceding, rather pro- 
jecting downwards, with the different parts in a side-view rising 
more freely and distinctly. The nose rather full and broad, and 
thicker towards its apex (bottled-nosed). The mouth large. 
This is the face of the Malays, particularly of the South Sea 
Islanders. See Plate V. 

In his Abbildungen natur-historicher Gegenstande, p. i, Blu- 
MENBACH has given characteristic representations of these five 
varieties, engraved from accurate portraits of celebrated indivi- 
duals. These engravings have been copied for the present work,* 
as they render the subject much more intelligible than mere 

In features, as in colour, the different races are connected to 
each other by the most gentle gradations ; so that, although any 
two extremes, when contrasted, appear strikingly different, they 
are joined by numerous intermediate and very shghtly differing 
degrees ; and no formation is exhibited so constantly in all the 
individuals of one race, as not to admit of numerous exceptions. 

We see, indeed, an astonishing difference, when we place an 
ugly Negro (for there are such as well as ugly Europeans) 
against a specimen of the Grecian ideal model ; but, when we 

* See plate I. — V. Vignettes illustrating the same subject are introduced 
In the Beytrcige zur Naturgeschidde ; \< Theil. 


trace the intermediate gradations, this striking diversity vanishes. 
" Of the Negroes of both sexes," says Blumencach, " whom 
I have attentively examined, in very considerable number, as 
well as in the portraits and profiles of others, and in the 
numerous Negro crania, which I possess, or have seen, there 
are not two completely resembling each other in their formation ; 
they pass by insensible gradations, into the forms of the other 
races, and approach to the other varieties even in their most 
pleasing modifications. A Creole whom I saw at Yverdun, born 
of parents from Congo, and brought from St. Domingo by the 
Chevalier Treytorrens, had a countenance, of which no part, 
not even the nose, and rather strongly marked lips, were very 
striking, much less displeasing; the same features \vith an 
European complexion would certainly have been generally 
agreeable."* The testimony of Le Maire, in his journey to 
Senegal and Gambia, is to the same effect ; that there are 
Negresses, except in colour, as handsome as European women. 
Vaillant says of the CafFre women, that setting aside the 
prejudice which operates against their colour, many might be 
accounted handsome, even in an European country. The accu- 
rate Adanson confirms this statement in his description of the 
Senegambians. " The women are equally well made with the 
men. Their skin is of the finest texture, and extremely soft. 
The eyes are black and large ; the mouth and lips small ; and 
all the features well proportioned. Several are perfectly beau- 
tiful. They have much vivacity, and an easy air, which is very 

The Jaloflfs, according to Mungo Park, have not the protu- 
berant lip nor flat nose of the African countenance. | We have 
also the testimony of another traveller, concerning this tribe, to 
the same eflTect : according to Moore,§ they have handsome 
features, and neither broad noses nor thick lips. Pigafetta j! 
states, that the Congo Negroes have not the thick lips of the 
Nubians, and that, except in colour, they are very like the 
Portuguese. Dampier, in his account of Natal, describes the 
natives as having curled hair, but a long face, well-proportioned 
nose, and agreeable countenance. The six Negro crania en- 
graved in the two first decades of Blumenbach, exhibit very 

* Beytriige zur Naturaeschichte ; 1' Th. p. 89. 
t Hisloire A'aturelle du Senegal, p. 23. 

X Travels into the Interior Districts of Africa; 8vo. edition, p. 23, The 
Foulahs also have pleasing features, p. 25. 
{ Zimmeimann, Geograph. geschicnte, v. i. p. 99. 
II Relazione del Heame di Congo; Roma, p. 12. 


clearly this diversity of character in the African race ; and prove, 
most unequivocally, that the variety among individuals is cer- 
tainly not less, but greater, than the difference between some of 
them and many Europeans.* 

The same observations hold good of the American race. The 
most accurate observers treat with contempt the hyperbolical 
assertion of some, that all the inhabitants of the new world have 
one and the same countenance, so that he who has seen one 
may say that he has seen all. 

" I cannot help smiling," says Molina, " when I read in 
certain modern authors, and those too accounted dihgent 
observers, that all the Americans have one cast of countenance, 
and then when you have seen one, you know the whole. These 
writers have been too much influenced by the deceptive appear- 
ances of resemblance, consisting chiefly in colour, which imme- 
diately disappear when we confront individuals of two nations. 
The difference between an inhabitant of Chili and a Peruvian is 
not less than between an Italian and a German. I have found 
the Indians of Paraguay, of the Straits of Magellan, and of other 
parts, most obviously and strikingly distinguished from each 
other by peculiar lineaments. "f 

We have further unexceptionable testimony to prove that the 
same variety of countenance is found in the Americans as in the 
other races ; although it generally follows the model above 
described. In South America only we have the Caaiguas with 
flat noses, observed by Nic. del Techo ; the neighbouring 
Abipons, of whom many individuals have aquiline noses, by 
Martin Dobrizhoffer ; the Peiu\'ians with narrow and aqui- 
line noses, by Ulloa ; the Chilese with rather a broad nose, by 
Molina ; and the islanders of Tierra del Fuego with a very de- 
pressed one, by G. FoRSTKR. 

The truth of this representation is most fully attested by 
Humboldt, whose accuracy and extensive opportunities 
entitle his observations to the most implicit deference. " In the 
faithful portrait, which an excellent observer, Mr. Volney, has 
drawn of the Canada Indians, we undoubtedly recognise the 
tribes scattered in the meadows of the Rio Apure and the 
Carony. The same style of feature exists, no doubt, in both 
Americas ; but those Europeans who have sailed on the great 
rivers Orinoco and Amazons, and have had occasion to see a 

* Decas Craniorum, p. 23 ; Decas altera, p. 13. 

t Storia naturale del Chili, p. 336. English Translation, 274, 275. 


great number of tribes assembled under the monastical hierarchy 
in the missions, must have observed that the American race 
contains nations, whose features differ as essentially from one 
another, as the numerous varieties of the race of Caucasus, the 
Circassians, Moors, and Persians, differ from one another. The 
tall form of the Patagonians is again found by us, as it were, 
among the Caribs, who dwell, in the plains from the delta of the 
Orinoco, to the sources of the Rio Blanco. What a difference 
between the figure, physiognomy, and physical constitution of 
these Caribs, who ought to be accounted one of the most robust 
nations on the face of the earth, and are not to be confounded 
with the degenerate Zambos, formerly called Caribs of the 
island St. Vincent, and the squat bodies of the Chayma Indians 
of the province of Cumana ! What a difference of form between 
the Indians of Tlascala and the Lipans and the Chichimecs of 
the northern part of Mexico !"* 

An analogous variety of countenance has been noticed in the 
Friendly Islanders ; *' their features are very various, insomuch 
ihat it is scarcely possible to fix on any general likeness by 
v/hich to characterise them, unless it be a fulness at the point 
of the nose, which is very common. But, on the other hand, 
we met with hundreds of truly European faces, and many 
genuine Roman noses amongst them.f 

Individuals in Europe often have the countenance exactly 
resembUng the Negro or Mongol face. 

From our survey of the countenance, we proceed, by a natural 
and easy transition, to a consideration of the bony head. It is 
suflficiently obvious that there must be a close connection 
between the external soft parts of the face, or the features, and 
the bony fabric, or mould, on which they are formed and sup- 
ported ; — that the size and configuration of the latter must 
determine those of the former.^ We might venture to aflSrm, 
that a blind man, if he knew the vast difference which exists 
between the face of a Calmuck and that of a Negro, would be 
able to distinguish their skulls by the mere touch ; nor could 
you persuade any person, however ignorant of the subject, that 
either of these belonged to a head similar to those from which 

• Political Essay, v. iv. p. 143. t Cook's Voy. to the Pacific ; i. 380. 

t I do not speak of the original formation, nor mean to assert that the par- 
ticular forms of the soft parts depend on those of the bones, as their cause ; 
for numerous phenomena rather tend to prove the reverse of that position, or 
that the soft parts influence the configuration of the bones. I only wish to 
point out the relation between them, and to state, that either being known, it 
will be easy to determine the other. 


the divine examples of the ancient Grecian sculpture were 
copied. Differences equally striking are found in the cavity of 
the cranium; of which the general capacity and particular 
forms depend entirely on the size and partial development of 
the brain. Hence our zoological study of man will be greatly 
assisted by carefully examining genuine specimens of the skulls 
of different nations ; which are easily prepared and preserved, 
may be conveniently handled and surveyed, considered in 
various points of view, and compared to each other. 

Such a comparison will show us that the form of the cranium 
differs no less than the colour of the skin, or other characters ; 
and that one kind of structure runs by gentle and almost inob- 
servable gradations into another : yet that there is, on the 
whole, an undeniable, nay, a very remarkable constancy of 
character in the crania of different nations, contributing very 
essentially to national peculiarities of form, and corresponding 
exactly to the features which characterize such nations. Hence 
anatomists have attempted to lay down some scale of dimen- 
sions, to which the various forms of the skull might be referred ; 
and by means of which they might be reduced into certain classes. 
With the exception of a few desultory observations, which are 
scattered through the works of different writers, Daubentox's 
paper, " Sur la Difference du grand Trou occipital dans r Homme 
et dans les autres Animaux," in the Memoirs of the Royal Aca- 
demy of Sciences for 1764, contains the first attempt at any 
general remarks on the subject : and this, indeed, is more im- 
portant in pointing out the differences between the human 
structure and that of animals, than in defining the characters of 
the skull in the different races of mankind. Camper has at- 
tempted a more general view, by means of his facial line and 
angle already described (see Chap. IV.) But what he has said 
cannot be considered even as approximating to a systematic ac- 
count of the national varieties of the skull. It is sufficiently 
obvious that his method is applicable to such varieties only as 
differ from each other in the size and prominence of the jaws, 
that it ^vill not at all exhibit the characters of those which vary 
in the opposite way, viz. in the greater or less breadth of the 
face, while the upper, posterior, and lateral aspects of the cranium 
are entirely disregarded. It often happens that crania of the 
most different nations, which differ toto cselo from each other on 
the whole, have the same facial line ; and, on the contrary, that 
skulls of the same nation, which agree in general character, 
L 3 


differ very much in the direction of this hne.* Camper could 
not, indeed, have fully explained this subject, because he had 
no sufficient collection of crania for the purpose. His Disserta- 
tion contains an engraving of a skull, which he calls that of a 
Calmuck, and adduces as a representative of all the natives of 
Asia. The characters of this skull are completely Negro ; and 
the very reverse of those which distinguish the Calmuck. Be- 
sides this he brings forward one Negro skull ; and these two are 
all that it contains except European heads. 

We are indebted to Blumenbach for the completest body 
of information on this subject, which he has been enabled to 
illustrate most successfully by an unrivalled collection of the 
crania of different nations from all parts of the globe. 

His admirable work on the varieties of the human species 
contains a short sketch of the various formations of the skull in 
different nations ; but he has treated the subject at greater 
length and with more minute detail in his Decades Craniorum, 
where the crania themselves are represented of their natural 

He states, that in the examination and classification of his 
immense collection, he finds it every day more and more diffi- 
cult, amidst such numerous differences in the proportion and 
direction of various parts, all of which contribute more or less 
to the national character, to reduce these to the measurements 
or angles of any single scale. Since, however, in distinguish 
ing the characters of the different crania, such a view will gain 
the preference to all others, as offers at one glance the most 
numerous and important points, and such as contribute especi- 
ally to the comparison of national characteristics, he has found 
by experience that to be the best adapted to this purpose, which 
is obtained by placing the different crania, with the zygomas 
perpendicular, on a table in a row, and contemplating them from 
behind. When skulls are thus arranged, those circumstances 
which contribute most to the formation of the national character, 
viz. the direction of the jaws and cheek-bones, the breadth or 

• The crania of a Negro and of a Pole, represented in tlie Decades of Blu 
menbach (Dec. altera; tab. x. : Dec. ieriia, t. xxii.), possess exactly the same 
facial line ; yet the general character of the two skulls is most opposite, when 
we compare the narrow and keel-shaped Ethiopian to the broad square form 
of the Lithuanian. There are, in the same work, two Negro crania of very 
different facial lines, which, when viewed in front, betray their Ethiopic origin 
most incontestably by thesame characters of a narrow and compressed cranium 
and arched forehead. In short, this criterion of the facial line, which I have 
already shown to be quite iusuflicient as a key to the intellectual rank of 
animals, is equally, if not more unserviceable, in its application to the varieties 
of man. 


narrowness of the head, the advancing or receding outline of the 
forehead, are all distinctly perceived at one view. This method 
of considering the bony head he calls norma verticalis. It is 
exhibited in the three figures of Plate IX., where three heads 
are represented in this point of view, in order to illustrate the 
subject. The middle of the three, distinguished by the sym- 
metry and beauty of aU its parts, is that of a Georgian female : 
the two outer ones are examples of heads differing from this in 
the opposites extremes. That on the left, elongated in front, is 
the head of a Negress ; the other, on the right, expanded late- 
rally, and flattened in front, is the cranium of a Tungoose from 
the north-east of Asia. The great expanse of the upper and 
anterior part of the cranium, hiding the face, characterizes the 
Georgian. In the Ethiopian, the narrow slanting forehead 
allows the face to come into view ; the cheeks and jaws are com- 
pressed laterally, and elongated in front. In the Tungoose, on 
the contrary, the maxillary, malar, and nasal bones are \videly 
expanded on either side ; and the two latter are on the same 
horizontal level %vith the glabella ;* the forehead being stiU low 
and slanting. 

In the first, or white variety of man, to which Blumenbach 
has given the epithet Caucasian, including the ancient and mo- 
dern inhabitants of Europe, the western Asiatics, or those on 
this side of the Caspian Sea, the rivers Ob and Ganges, and the 
northern Africans ; — in a word, nearly all the inhabitants of the 
world as known to the ancients, the skull presents the finest 
intellectual organization ; proportions indicating the greatest 
predominance of the rational faculties over the instruments of 
sense and of the common animal wants. The upper and front 
parts of the skull are more developed than in any other variety, 
and their ample swell completely hides the face, when we survey 
the head according to the norma verticalis. The facial line must, 
therefore, be nearly vertical ; and the facial angle nearly a right 
angle. The face is comparatively small, and its outlines rounded, 
without anything harsh or unpleasantly prominent. The cheek- 
bones are small, and do not stand out, but descend in a nearly 
straight line from the external angular process of the frontal 
bone. The alveolar margin of the jaws is rounded ; and the 
front teeth are perpendicular in both. The chin is full and 

Since this conformation is exhibited in the various nations of 

* The space between the frontal sinuses. 


Europe, its leading traits must be familiar. As a specimen, I 
have selected from the third decade of Blumenbach's work 
the skull of a Georgian* woman, because it comes from a quar- 
ter near the supposed original seat of our race, and from a tribe 
celebrated for personal beauty. From the elegance and symmetry 
of its formation, it may be regarded as the model of a female 
head ; and is certainly far preferable in this point of view, to 

that of 

" The bending statue which enchants the world." 

Gall and Spurzheim judiciously observed that the head of 
the Venus was too small for an intellectual being; and that 
the goddess of Love was thus represented as an idiot. In this 
Georgian head the physical and moral attributes are well com- 
bined ; the personal charms, which enchant the senses, are 
joined to those rational endowments which command esteem 
and respect, and satisfy the judgment. 

The form of this head is of such distinguished elegance, that 
it attracts the attention of all who visit the collection in which 
it is contained. The vertical and frontal regions form a large 
and smooth convexity, which is a little flattened at the temples ; 
the forehead is high and broad, and carried forwards perpen- 
dicularly over the face. The cheek-bones are small, descend- 
ing from the outer side of the orbit, and gently turned back. 
The superciliary ridges run together at the root of the nose, and 
are smoothly continued into the bridge of that organ, which 
forms an elegant and finely-turned arch. The alveolar processes 
are softly rounded, and the chin is full and prominent. In the 
whole structure there is nothing rough or harsh ; nothing dis- 
agreeably projecting. Hence it occupies a middle place between 
the two opposite extremes, of the Mongolian variety, in which 
the face is flattened, and expanded laterally : and the Ethiopian, 
in which the forehead is contracted, and the jaws also are 
narrow and elongated anteriorly. 

Blumenbach observes that the form of this head corres- 
ponds exactly to that of the marble statue of a nymph in the 
collection of the late Mr. Townley, of which he possesses a 
plaster cast. It tends also to confirm the testimony of the nu- 
merous travellers, who have unanimously concurred in extolling 
the beauty of the inhabitants of Georgia and the neighbouring 

* Decas tertia ; No. xxi. The sixth plate of this work is copied from the 
figure of Blumenbach. The representations in the Tabulce Sceletiet Mttsculorum 
Hominis, and in the Tab. Ossium humanorum of Albinus, also exemplify the 
characters of this yaviety. 


countries. The expressions of Chardin are so warm and 
animated, that I subjoin the original passage. " Le sang de 
Georgie est le plus beau de I'orient, et je puis dire du monde. 
Je n'ai pas remarque un visage laid en ce pais-la, parmi, I'un 
et I'autre sexe ; mais j'y en ai vu d'angeliques. La nature y a 
repandu sur la plupart des femmes des graces qu'on ne voit 
point ailleurs. Je tiens pour impossible de les regarder sans 
les aimer. L'on ne peut peindre de plus charmans visages, ni 
de plus belles tailles, que celles des Georgiennes."* The head 
of the Jewish girl engraved in Plate XII. exemplifies equally 
well the Caucasian formation. 

The characters above described belong to the following people, 
whether ancient or modern; ?jj^. the Syrians and Assyrians, 
Chaldeans, Medes, Persians,f Jews,t Egyptians, Georgians, 
Circassians, Mingrelians, Armenian s,§ Turks, || Arabs, Afghans, 
Hindoos of high cast, Gipsies,^ Tartars,** Moors and Berbers 
in Africa, Guanches in the Canary Islands, Greeks, Romans, ft 
and all the Europeans except the Laplarrders. The enumeration 
includes all the human races in which the intellectual endow- 
ments of man have shone forth in the greatest native vigour, 
have received the highest cultivation, and have produced the 
richest and most abimdant fruits in philosophy, science and art, 
in religion and morals, in poetry, eloquence, and the fine arts, 
in civilization and government ; in all that can dignify and en- 
noble the species. We cannot, therefore, wonder that they 
should in all cases have not merely vanquished, but held in per- 
manent subjection, aU the other races. 

Much uncertainty has prevailed respecting the physical cha- 
racters of the ancient Egyptians : and some have maintained 
the opinion that they were Negroes. :J;t The question is certainly 

• Foyages en Perse ; t. i. ■p. 111. Edition of 1735. 

t Bluraenbach, Dec. No. xxxiv. t Ibid. n. xxviii. and xxxv. 

i Ibid. xli. II Ibid. ii. 

H A genuine Transilvanian Gipsey ; ibid. xi. 

*• Ibid. xii. Sandifovt, Museum Acad. Lugduno-Bat. v. i. tab. 2. 

tt Roman praetorian soldier ; ibid, xxxii. 

{4: Volney seems to assume it as a settled point, that the ancient Egyptians 
were Negroes. " IIow are we astonished when we behold the present bar- 
barism and ignorance of the Copts, descended from the profound genius of the 
Egyptians, and the brilliant imagination of the Greeks ; when we reflect, that 
to the race of Negroes, at present our slaves, and the objects of our extreme 
contempt, we owe our arts, sciences, and the very use of speech ; and when 
we recollect that iu the midst of those nations who call themselves the friends 
of liberty and humanity, the most barbarous of slaveries is justified; and that 
it is even a problem, whether the understanding of Negroes be of the same 
species with that of white men ! " I'rarels in Syria and Egypt ; chap. vi. 

The researches of Meiners into the ancient authorities lead to the conclusion 
that there was a great conformity, both in bodily formation and in customs 
and in political institutions, between the Egyptians and Indians (Hindoos) ; 


interesting, particularly if it should appear that this opinion is 
well grounded. That a race ever devoted, within the period 
embraced by authentic history, to slavery, or to an independent 
existence not much better, and possessing, under the most 
favourable circumstances, only the rudiments of the common 
arts, and the most imperfect social institutions, should have 
accomplished in the remotest antiquity undertakings which 
astonish us even now by their grandeur, and prove so great a 
progress in civilization and social life, in arts and sciences ; that 
they should have subsequently lost all traces of this surprising 
progress, and never have exhibited the smallest approximation 
to such a pre-eminence in any other instance, would be a fact 
extremely difficult to explain. 

Egypt was venerated, even by antiquity, as the birthplace of 
the arts, and still retains innvimerable monuments of their former 
splendour, after so many ages of desolation. Her principal 
temples, and the palaces of her kings, still subsist, although the 
least ancient of them were constructed before the war of Troy 
With our present experience of the capacity of Negroes, and our 
knowledge of the state in which the whole race has remained 
for twenty centuries, can we deem it possible that they should 
have achieved such prodigies? that Homer, Lycurgus, Solon, 
Pythagoras, and Plato, should have resorted to Egypt to 
study the sciences, religion, and laws, discovered and framed 
by men with, black skin, woolly hair, and slanting forehead ? 

The situation of Egypt favours the notion of a mixed popula- 
tion, which may have flowed in at various times from different" 
quarters of Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

The Caucasian races of Arabia, Syria, and the surrounding 
parts, must have found their way into this fertile and flourish- 

and a less marked affinity between the former and the Ethiopians. But it is 
not clear what race of men was meant by that term. For the ancient historians 
speak of Negro Ethiopians, of another African Ethiopian race with longhair, 
and of Asiatic Ethiopians. De veterum Egyptiorum Origine; in Commentation. 
Reg. Soc. Scicnt. GoettiJig. v. 10. 

Dr. Prichatd has brought together, with great learning and industry, all the 
ancient testimonies that can illustrate this question ; and has examined and 
collated them so carefully, that nothing further can be expected from this 
quarter. The results are thus summed up : " We may consider the general 
result of the facts which we can collect concerning the physical characters of 
the Egyptians to be this ; that the national conhguration prevailing in the 
most ancient times was nearly the Negro form, with woolly hair. But that 
in a later age this character had become considerably modified and changed, 
and that a part of the population of Egypt resembfed the modern Hindoos. 
The general complexion was black, or a a very dusky hue." Researches 
into the Physical History of Man, p. 388. In the seventh and eighth chapters 
of this work the most extensive and learned researches are employed to prove 
the affinity between the Ancient Egyptians and Indians ; and to show that both 
were marked by the characters of the Negro race. 


ing country : the Red Sea offers an easy medium of communi- 
cation both Avith Arabia and India ; while the freest access exists 
on the south and west to the Negroes and Berbers of Africa. 
Hence specimens of various races may be naturally expected 
to occur among the mummies ; and may have afforded models 
to the painter and sculptor. If, however, among the myriads of 
embalmed bodies, of the sculptured figures, which cover the 
walls of temples and palaces, and of other works of art, we should 
meet with one or two of Negro formation, are we thence to 
conclude that the original Egyptians were Negroes } or that 
men of the latter race possessed those distinguished powers ot 
knowledge and reflection, which the early history of this won- 
derful country compels us to assign to its ruling race ? Ought 
we not rather to draw our conclusions from the most prevalent 
forms, those which are most numerous and abundant in the 
oldest specimens ? If, among a profusion of mummies and 
figures, bearing the stamp of the Caucasian model, a few should 
occur with a little dash of the Negro character, may we not 
suppose the individuals who furnished the pattern of the latter 
to have been in Egypt, as they have been every where, slaves * 
to the race of nobler formation ? To give the new Negroes the 
glory of all the discoveries and achievements of this first eivihzed 
race, and overlook the more numerous individuals of different 
character, would be in opposition to the invariable tenour of our 
experience respecting human nature. 

In the course of his inquiries into the natural history of man, 
this subject attracted the attention of Blumenbach, who has 
been fortunate enough to procure the opportunity of examining 
several mummies. He gave an account of some of these in the 
Philosophical Transactions for 1794. Having afterwards met 
with another very perfect specimen, he published a more en- 
larged and detailed essay on the whole subject, in his Contribu- 
tions to Natural History, part ii. Goett. l'2mo. ISll. 

He expresses his surprise that professed and judicious anti- 
quaries, such as WiNKELMANN and D'Hancarville, should 
have ascribed one common character of national physiognomy 
to the ancient Egyptian works of art, and should have dispatched 
it shortly and decisively in two lines. 

" I think," he continues, " that we cannot fail to recognise at 
least three principal differences, which, indeed, like all varieties 
of formation, in our species, run together by numerous grada- 

* Slavery is coeval with our earliest records. See Gen, ix. 25, :^6 ; xii. 5. 

232 FORAis OF THE sklll: 

tions, yet are marked, in their strongest forms, by very distinct 
characters. They are, the Ethiopian, the Indian, and one re- 
sembling the BeVbers or original inhabitants of the Barbary 

The first is marked by prominent jaws, thick lips, a broad 
flattened nose, and projecting eyes. Such, according to Led- 
YARD, VoLNEY, Larrey, and other competent authorities, are 
the characters of the modern Copts :* such, too, according to 
the best descriptions and delineations in Norden, Volney, 
Denon, and others, is the countenance of the great sphinx at 
Gizeh, and of many other ancient works of Egyptian art. The 
Egyptians themselves, according to the well-known passage of 
HERODOTUS,f had these characters; and LucianJ gives a 
similar description of a young Egyptian at Rome.§ 

Ethiopian form must be here understood in tnat wide accep- 
tation which we give to the expression Ethiopian race in the 
arrangement of the human species ; and not in the more marked 
but narrower sense of what the English call the true Guinea 
face. Indeed, the physiological characters of the Negro, taken 
in a general sense, are as loosely defined as his geographical 
description ; for, among Negroes, there are several who, in 
smoothness of the hair and general beauty of form, excel many 

A complete contrast to this Ethiopian form is presented in 
the Hindoo-like character of other old remains, which consists 
of a long slender nose, long and narrow aperture of the eyelids, 
running upwards to the temple, ears placed high on the head, 
short and slender trunk, and long legs.|| The female figure on 
the back of Capt. Lethieullier's mummy in the British 
Museum, in a characteristic representation of this form, and ac- 
cords entirely with the well-known national make of the Hindoos. 

• The Copts, who are regarded as the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, 
have " a yellowish dusky complexion, which is neither Grecian nor Arabian ; 
they have all a puffed visage, swolneyes, flat noses, and thick lips ; in short, the 
exact countenance of a Mulatto." Volney, Travels in Syria and Egypt. 

I do not, however, find the Negro character expressed in the delineations 
of Copts, by Denon, Voyage dans la Haute et Basse Egypte ; pi. 105, No. ii. ; 
pi. 108, No. ii. and iii. ; nor in those of the great Descripition cle V Egypte; see 
Etat Moderne, vol. ii. Costumes and Portraits. Neither have I succeeded in 
discovering representations of Negroes among the almost numberless sculptures 
of the ancient buildings represented in both these works. The human figures 
are marked by traits of a form altogether different. 

t He argues that the Colchians must have been a colony of Egyptians, 
because they were ' ' fXiXayxpois koI ouA($TpiXfs"— black skinned and woolly 
haired. Lib. ii. t A'avisium, S. Vota, c. ii. 

k Blumenbach refers in a note to two figures with marked Negro form ; one 
is engraved as a vignette to the Preface of his C'ontrihuiions, part ii. ; and the 
otheris described by P. a S. Bartholomajo, inhis Mumiographia Obiciana, p. 51. 

II Such a head is represented in the title-page vignette. 


A very competent judge, the learned P. a S. Bartholom^o, 
after carefully comparing together the various Egyptian works 
of art in the rich Italian collections, not only fully admits the 
justice of my threefold division, but particularly confirms the 
strong contrast between the Ethiopian formation and that Hin- 
doo character so well known to him from his long residence in 

In accordance with this distinction, long smooth hair has been 
found in some mummies, and short curled hairf in others. 

Tlie third and commonest kind of form resembles neither of 
the foregoing, and is characterized by a pecuhar bloated habit, 
swoln and rather loose cheeks, short chin, large projecting eyes, 
and fleshy body. (See the vignette at the end of the Preface). 
I call this the Berber character, because the great analogies 
which constitute the surest basis for conclusions respecting the 
descent and affinities of people, viz. those of form, language, and 
agreament in customs of marked peculiarity, are here all united. J 

I proceed to an osteological examination of the mummy heads ; 
which, if performed with accuracy and discrimination, will sup- 
ply us with sure data, as far as they go. We shall find that the 
bodies thus preserved have the characters of the Caucasian 
variety, and we shall hardly discover, among a great multitude 
of examples, a single unequivocal instance of Negro formation. 

In his Decades Craniorwn, No. I. and XXXI., Blumenbach 
has represented two Egyptian skulls. The first bears no marks 
of Ethiopian origin, nor does the author assign to it any such 
characters. " In universum hujus cranii habitus eundem cha- 
racterem prae se ferre ^^detur, quern et ingentia ^Egyptiacae 
artis veteris opera spirant, non quidem elegantem et pulchellum, 
ast magnum." P. 13. 

The European or Caucasian character of the second is quite 
obvious ; yet, in the description, there appears a desire of fixing 
on it some mark of Negro descent. "Quod vero universum 
\'ultum attinet, diifert quidem ille satis luculenter a genuino isto 
Nigritarum, qui Anglis vulgo facies Guineensis audit ; jEthio- 
pici tamen aliquid spiral, ita ut proprius absit ab Habessinico, 
qualem curata icon exhibet, proxime autem ab eo, quern tot an- 
tiquissima iEgyptiacae artis monumenta prse se ferunt." The 

• "Stat ergo ea Veritas, prseter jEthiopicum vultum in Egypto, ejusque 
mumiis et monumentis, admittendum esse characterem quendam Indicum, 
qui Egjptiis non minus gentilitius et nativus est quam ^Ethiopicus." 

t For this fact Gryphius is quoted. 

% P. 130 137. 


Abyssinians, to whom a comparison is here made, are of Arab 
descent, and have all the characters of the Caucasian variety. 

SoEMMERRiNG describcs the head of four mummies which he 
has seen : two of them differed in no respects from the Euro- 
pean formation ; the third had the African character of a large 
space marked out for the temporal muscle ; no other proof of 
Negro descent is mentioned, and what is stated concerning the 
face rather contradicts the supposition : the characters of the 
fourth are not particularized. 

" Caput mumiae, quod Cassellis in museo servatur, nil fere ab 
Europaeo differt.* 

" Caput etiam mumiae in theatre anatomico Marpurgensi ser- 
vatum, cujus exacta delineatio ad manus est, nil a capite Euro- 
paeo deflectit. 

" Pulcherrima et optime servata, forsan virilis mumiae calvaria 
optimae aetatis, qua me Mieg, Professor Basileensis benevole 
donavit, quaeque olim in collectione F. Plateri fuit, distincte 
formam Africanam, alte progrediente vestigio insitionis musculi 
temporalis, repraesentat ; vertex non est compressus, neque ossa 
faciei robustiora sunt ossibus Europceorum. Densum ordinem 
integri pulchri dentes sistunt, non nisi inferiores incisores et 
canini oblique priora et inferiora versus attenuati sunt, pluri- 
mum vero medium incisorum par, brevioribus ea de causa coro- 
nis instructum. 

" Calvaria mumiae hominis senis confecti, ab eodem Mieg 
mihi data, ^Egyptiacam ossium faciei formam minus accurate 
repraesentat, verum dentes incisores exteriores inferiores, et 
dentes canini modo quem supra indicavi, se habent ; distant 
nimirum inter se, et in planum sunt attenuati."t 

Denon states of the female mummies, " que leurs cheveux 
etoient longs et lisses ; que le caractere de la tete de la plupart 
tenoit du beau style. Je rapportois une tete de vieille femme, 
qui e'toit aussi belle que celles des Sibylles de Michel Ange. "J 

The embalmed heads from the catacombs of Thebes (Quour- 
nah), engraved in the great French work, are of the finest 
European form, to which their abundant, long, and slightly 
flowing hair fully corresponds. There is a male head, with the 
broad and fully developed forehead, small perpendicular face, 
and all the contours of our best models. § " L'angle facial se 

• Bruckmann's Nachricht von ciner Mutme ; Brunswick, 1782, 4to. 
+ De Corporis humani Fahrica; t. i. pp. 70, 71. % Voyage, 

\ Description de I'Egypte; Antiquities, t. ii. pi. 49. 

p. 252. 


rapproche beaucop d'un angle droit ; et les dents incisives sont 
plantees verticalement, et non inclinees ni avancees, comme elles 
le seroient dans une tete de Negre." The nose is finely arched ; 
the jaws perpendicular; the movith and chin well formed. The 
front and profile views of a female head * are of the same cha- 
racter ; the face completely European, the hair copious, and 
disposed in small masses or locks, a httle turned. The same 
remarks are appUcable to another head,t of which a section is 
also exhibited. 

The skulls of four mummies in the possession of Dr. Leach, 
of the British Museum, and casts of three others, agree wth 
those just mentioned in exhibiting a formation not differing 
from the European, without any trait of Negro character. 

Lastly, so far as osteological proofs go, the question may be 
considered as comijletely decided by the strong evidence of 


" It is now clearly proved — yet it is necessary to repeat the 
truth, because the contrary error is still found in the newest 
v/orks — that neither the Gallas (who border on Abyssinia) nor 
the Bosjesmen, nor any race of Negroes, produced that cele- 
brated people who gave birth to the civihzation of ancient 
Egypt, and from whom we may say that the whole world has 
inherited the principles of its laws, sciences, and perhaps also 
the religion. 

" Bruce even imagines that the ancient Egyptians were 
Cushites, or woolly-haired Negroes ; he supposes them to have 
been alUed to the Shangallas of Abyssinia. 

" Now that we distinguish the several human races by the 
bones of the head, and that we possess so many of the ancient 
Egyptian embalmed bodies, it is easy to prove that, whatever 
may have been the hue of their skin, they belonged to the same 
race with ourselves ; that their cranium and brain were equally 
voluminous ; in a word, that they formed no exception to that 
cruel law, which seems to have doomed to eternal inferiority all 
the tribes of our species which are unfortunate enough to have 
a depressed and compressed cranium. 

" I present the head of a mummy, that the Academy may 
compare it to those of Europeans, Negroes, and Hottentots. It 
is detached from an entire skeleton, which I did not bring on 
account of its brittleness : but its comparison has furnished the 
same results. I have examined, in Paris, and in the various 
• Description de VUgyj^te; Antiquities, t. ii. pi. 50. t Ibid. pi. 51. 


collections of Europe, more than fifty heads of mummies, and 
not one amongst them presented the characters of the Negro 
or Hottentot."* 

By examination of the bony head we learn that the Guanches 
also, or the race which occupied the Canary Islands at the time 
of their first discovery by the Europeans in the fourteenth cen- 
tury, belonged to the Caucasian variety. The name Guanches 
signifies men or sons in their language. The Spaniards, who 
conquered them, represent them as a people of strength and 
courage, of powerful bodies and intelligent minds, advanced in 
social institutions, and of pure morals. They made the bravest 
resistance to their European invaders, who did not completely 
subject them until after a hundred and fifty years of repeated 
contests. They had a tradition of their descent from an ancient, 
great, and powerful people. 

We now know them, as we do the Egyptians, only by their 
mummies,t the race being completely extinct. The entire head, 
engraved in Blumenbach's fifth Decade, t offers no essential 
difference from the European form. 

The testimony of Cuvier is to the same effect. " I present 
to the Academy the head of a Guanche ; a specimen of that- race 
which inhabited the Canaries before they were conquered by the 
Spaniards. Some authors, believing the tales of Timaeus con- 
cerning the Atlantis, have regarded the Guanches as the wreck 
of the supposed Atlantic people. Their practice of preserving 
dead bodies in the mummy form might rather lead us to suspect 
some affinity to the ancient Egyptians. § However that may 

* Exlrait d' Ohserrations faitcs sm !e Cadarre d'une Femme conntie a Paris et 
a Londres sous le nom de Fenus Hottentotte. Memoires da Museum d'Uist. nat. 
t. iii. pp. 173, 174. 

t The body of which Blumenbach's engraving exhibits a head, appears to 
him to be that of a female. " When brought from its siibterranean abode en 
the island of Tenerifle to London, it was entirely and curiously sewed up iu 
goat skins, according to the usual practice of this ancient and aboriginal race. 
(See Viera Jvb/2C!a« de las Islas de Canaria; Glass's History of the Canary 
Islands ; Golbery Voyage en Jfrique ; i. p. 88 — 95. It was surprisingly dry, and 
perfectly inodorous, although the muscles and skin, the contents of* the head, 
thorax, and abdomen, in short, all the soft parts, had been preserved. So 
powerful had the process of exsiccation been, that the entire body weighed only 
seven pounds anci a half; although a female skeleton of the same stature, in its 
ordinary state of dryness, would weigh at least nine pounds." Dec. v. p. 7. 

i No. xlii. 

I Although the Guanches were separated from the Egyptians by the entire 
breadth of northern Africa, they not only resembled them in the singular 
practice of preserving the dead, which was intnisfed in both cases to the 
priests, and in some of the ornaments bestowed on the mummies, but also in 
language. From a vocabulary of the Tuariks, near Egypt, collected by Mr. 
Hornemann, Mr. Marsden traced an affinity between them and the Berbers 
or Numidians, with whose language it is well known that the small remains 
of the Guanche tongue agree. Blumenbaeh, loc. cit. p. 8. Adelung, Mithri- 
dates ; vol. iii. part, i. pp. 59, 60. 


be, their head, like that of the Egyptian mummies, demon- 
strates their Caucasian origin.* 

The latter point is fully confirmed by tvv'o Guanche skulls in 
the possession of Dr. Leach. 

Tlie form of the cranium has not yet been sufficiently studied 
and observed to enable us to say that the several very different 
nations included under the Caucasian variety are or are not 
characterized by particular modifications of this cavity. There 
are, however, some peculiarities so striking, that they imme- 
diately attract notice. The completely globular form of the 
skull in the Turk is one of these : it is exemplified in an 
engraving of Blumenbach's first Decade,t corresponding 
exactly to a skull which I have seen. The cranium (properly 
so called) is perfectly globular ; the occiput can be hardly said 
to exist, as the foramen magnum is placed very near the posterior 
part of the basis cranii ; the forehead is broad, and the glabella 
prominent. The posterior part of the head is very high and 
broad. The proportions of the face are symmetrical and ele- 
gant. The alveolar part or the upper jaw-bone is singularly 
short ; not measuring more than the breadth of the little finger 
under the nose. The basis of the lower jaw is remarkable for 
its shortness : the facial line nearly vertical, so that the prepon- 
derance of the parts placed in front of the occipito-atloidal arti- 
culation is reduced as much as possible. 

Two other Turkish skulls in Blumenbach's possession have 
exactly the same shape ; which is very general in living Turks, 
and is always visible in good portraits of them. This peculiarity 
of form has been observed by several authors ; it is indeed so 
striking, that it could hardly have escaped observation. " It 
appears," says Vesalius, " that most nations have something 
peculiar in the form of the head. The crania of the Genoese, 
and still more remarkably those of the Greeks and Turks, are 
completely globular in their form. This shape, which they 
esteem elegant, and well adapted to their practice of enveloping 
the head in the folds of their turbans, is often produced by the 
midwives at the solicitation of the mothers. "J 

A corresponding statement to this account is given by Baron 
AsCH in a letter to Blumexbach. He says, that the mid- 
wives at Constantinople commonly inquire of the mother, after 

* Cuvier, loc. cit. SoemmerriBg mentions that the head of a Guanche 
mummy at Cassel has the Negro characters ; but enters into no further detail. 
De Corp. humani Fabric, t. i. p. 71. t No. ii. 

t De Corporis humani Fabrica ; p. 23, ed. of 1555. 


parturition, what form she would Mke to have given to the head 
of the child ; and that they generally prefer that which results 
from a tight circular bandage, as they think that their turbans 
sit better when the head has that round shape.* 

That the old women should have told such a story, and that 
the Baron should have believed them, is not surprising ; but it 
seems to me very extraordinary that a physiologist, and one well 
acquainted with nature, should have given credit to this old 
wife's tale. A single glance at his own engraving of this beau- 
tiful head, at the symmetrical and elegant formation of the whole 
fabric, the nice correspondence and adjustment of all parts, the 
perfect harmony between the cranium and face, and in all the 
details of each, demonstrate most unequivocally that it is a 
natural formation, and a very fine work of nature too. There 
is not the minutest vestige of artificial impression : and I can 
have no hesitation in asserting the impossibility of inducing by 
bandage, pressure, or artifice of any kind, such a form on a 
head of a different original configuration. 

In the passage already quoted, Vesalius goes on to observe 
" that the Germans had generally a flattened occiput and broad 
head, because the children are always laid on their backs in the 
cradles ; and that the Belgians have a more oblong form, because 
the children are allowed to sleep on their sides." These prac- 
tices account just as well for the German and Belgian forms, as 
the manoeuvres of the Constantinople midwives do for the sphe- 
rical skulls of the Turks. I have, however, seen German heads 
of a globular form ; remarkably high and broad behind ; re- 
sembling the Turkish cranium in this respect, and in the 
approximation of the great occipital foramen to the posterior 
part of the basis cranii. 

SoEMMERRiNG says that he finds no well-marked differences 
between the German, Swiss, French,t Swedish,! and Russian§ 
skulls in his collection ; except that the orbits are contracted in 
the Russian, their margins quadrangular, and the teeth small. 
In the skull of a Pole figured by Blumenbach, || the smallness 
of the orbits is a remarkable feature. 

That no striking difference has been discovered on comparing 
together one or two casual specimens of each of the nations 
above mentioned, does not authorize us to conclude that no 
differences exist. On the contrary, if the brain be the seat of 

* Blumenbach, Dec. i. p. 16. 

+ Sandifort, Museu7n Acad. Lusd. Bat. v. i. tab. C. 

t Ibid. tab. 4. \ Ibid. t. 9. il Decad. iii. No. 23. 


our intellectual and moral functions, which nobody at present 
seems to doubt ; and if the several propensities, sentiments and 
intellectual powers are the functions of certain parts of this 
organ, which is at least a probable doctrine ; we shall be much 
surprised to find that no distinctions are observable in the shape 
of the cranium between English, French, Germans, Italians, &c. 
The only mode of ascertaining the point satisfactorily would be 
to collect a considerable number of heads of each nation, or of 
accurate casts or portraits ; and to select, for this purpose, indi- 
viduals of genuine descent, whose organization has not been 
modified by foreign intermixture. My friend, Mr. George 
Lewis, whose quickness in distinguishing forms, and readiness 
and accuracy in portraying them to the very life, are well 
known, observed, in a tour through France and Germany, that 
the lower and anterior part of the cranium is larger in the 
French, the upper and anterior in the Germans ; and that the 
upper and posterior region is larger in the former than in the 
latter. He was always struck with the very fine forms of the 
skull in Itahans, which coincides completely with what I have 
seen of them in this country. Our decision, then, on this very 
interesting subject must be postponed at present, and await the 
result of more numerous and accurate comparisons. 

Into minuter diflferences, such as the high cheek-bones of the 
Scotch, the aquUine noses of the Jews and Armenians, &c. I 
do not propose to enter. 

In the four following varieties of the human race we observe, 
on comparing them to the Caucasian, a much less perfect de- 
velopment of the upper and anterior parts of the cranium, and 
very often a greater size of the face. This and similar observa- 
tions are to be taken in a general sense ; individual modifications 
are numerous in all the varieties, so that both the Caucasian 
and the dark-coloured divisions furnish examples of individuals, 
which exhibit in each case respectively, the characters of the 
other ; yet, in many of the dark races, a low, narrow, and re- 
treating forehead, is a very striking and general character. 

The second, or Mongolian variety, includes those Asiatics 
which do not come under the first division, and the inhabitants 
of the northern parts of America and Europe. The forehead is 
low and slanting, and the head altogether of a square form. The 
cheek-bones stand out widely on either side. The glabella and 
ossa nasi, which are flat and very small, are placed nearly on the 
same plane %vith the malar bones. There are scarcely any super- 


ciliary ridges. The entrance of the nose is narrow ; the malar 
fossa forms but a slight excavation. The alveolar edge of the 
jaws is obtusely arched in front ; the chin rather prominent. 
This formation is most strikingly exhibited in the Mongolian 
tribes, which are widely scattered over the continent of Asia, 
and which have generally, but erroneously, been included, with 
others of different origin and formation, under the name of 
Tartars (Tatars) ; whereas the last-mentioned tribes, properly so 
called, belong to the first division of the human race. The Cal- 
mucks and other Mongolian nations which overran the Saracen 
empire under Zenghis Khan, in the thirteenth century, and had 
entered Europe, are described in the Historia Major* of Mat- 
thew Paris, under the name of Tartars j whereas that appel- 
lation, or rather Tatars, properly belongs to the western Asiatics, 
who had been vanquished by the Mongols. The error, however, 
arising from this source has been propagated down to the present 
day, so that in the works of the most approved naturalists, as 
BuFFON and Erxleben, we find the characters of the Mon- 
golian race ascribed to what they call the Tartars. The mistake 
has not been detected, even by the most celebrated and classical 
modem historians ; for Dr. RoBERTSONf speaks of Zenghis as 
the Emperor of the Tartars. 

For the illustration of this variety I have selected from Blu- 
menbach's work (Dec. alter. No. 14) the engraving of a Cal- 
muck's skull, see Plate VII. ; and that of a Burat child, 

* London, 1686, fol. p. 530. The descnption is contained in a letter sent by an 
ecclesiastic from Vienna, in 1243, to his archbishop in France, and speaks " de 
horribili vastatione inhumanaj mentis, quam Tarfaros vocant. " These barba- 
rous hordes had at that time entered Hungary, and penetrated even to Vienna, 
His description of their corporeal characters corresponds to the portrait which, 
from Bufifon downwards, so many naturalists liave drawn of the Mongolian 
tribes, under the name of Tartars. " Habent autem Tartari pectora dura-et 
robusta, facics macras et pallidas, scapulas rigidas et erectas, nasos distortos 
et breves, menta pro^minentia et acuta, superiorom mandibulam humilem et 
profundam, denies longos et raros, palpebras a crinibus usque ad nasum pro- 
tensas, ocujos inconstanteset nigros, aspectus obliquos et torvos,extremilates 
ossosas et nervosas, crura cjuociue grossa, sed tibias breviores, statura tamen 
nobis ffiquales ; quod enim in tibiis deficit, in superiori corpore compensatur." 
Blumenlaach, from whose Second Dfcacle, p. 7, I have borrowed this quotation, 
observes " that the writer obviously speaks, not of the genuine Tatars, but of 
a people most widely diiferent from them, namely, the Mongols or Calmucks, 
whose oidy affinity to them consisted in the name by which then, and even 
now, the two races are improperly confounded. All the characters, therefore, 
which naturalists have assigned to the Tatars, belong to the totally diiferent 
Mongolian race. We know, on the contrary, that the Tatars are a handsome 
people, conspicuous for the beauty and symmetry of their countenance, as is 
evinced in the skull here represented, (No. 12), which presents a complete 
contrast to the Mongolian characters of several specimens in this collection." 
Further information on the origin of this confusion of oamcs ninv be procured 
from J. E. Fischer, Cu7ijecturcp de Gente et Nomine Tatarorutn, in his QxuBstionet 
Petropolitance ; also from his Sibil ische Geschichte, t. i. 

t History of America ; v. i. p. 4.5. 


Plate XII. The cranium is nearly globular; the face broad 
and flattened ; the forehead flat and wide ; the malar bones 
standing out laterally ; the orbits very large and open ; the su- 
perciliary arches elevated ; the general habit of the skull in a 
manner swoln (quasi inflatus et tumidus). 

" The whole character of this skull corresponds to the well- 
known Calmuck countenance, and agrees perfectly with the 
engraving of a Calmuck skull pubUshed by J. B. de Fischer;* 
but nothing can be more diflPerent from it than the figure f in 
Camper's posthumous work on the facial line, which he brings 
forward as a representation of a head of the same race, and con- 
siders as a type of the formation prevailing over all Asia, North 
America, and the numerous islands of the Pacific Ocean. Without 
noticing the latter opinion, which is contradicted by the slightest 
acquaintance with the native inhabitants of these various regions, 
I shall merely observe that I am well convinced that the skull 
in question belongs to that variety of the human race which is 
the most widely different from the Calmuck, viz. to the Negro. 
Although no national form is so constant as not to be exposed 
to many deviations, and hence we meet among Europeans with 
individuals approaching to the Negro or Mongol characters, yet 
the form of the Calmuck head is so completely contrary to that 
of the Negro, and the figure in question bears bo genuine and 
unequivocal an Ethiopian character, that I am convinced the 
excellent author must have been deceived, and consequently 
that his work, besides European, contains only two African 
skulls." X 

The head of a Yakut,§ from the remotest parts of Siberia, ex- 
hibits the same characters. A square face ; large orbits sepa- 
rated by a very considerable ethmoid bone ; the nasal bones 
small and running together above into a point. 

This is followed by the skull of aTungoose,]] of that descrip- 
tion which is called Rein-deer Tungooses. The face is flattened, 
and of great breadth across the cheeks ; the forehead depressed; 
the olfactory apparatus very considerable. 

The Decades of Blumenbach contain also figures of another 
Calmuck,'f[ of a Burat child** a year and a half old, of a Don 
Cossackjft a Daurian or Chinese Tungoose,|| and an ancient 

• Dissertatio osteologica de Modo quo Ossa se vicinis accommodant Partihiu. 
Lud!^. Bat. 1713, 4to. tab. 1. 

+ Traite [jhysique des Differences reelles, S:c. ; tab. i. fig. 4 ; tab. iii. fig. 3. 

* Dec. alt. I), y, 10. \ Ibid. tab. 15. || Ibid. tab. 16. 

^ Tab. 5. •• T. 39. ++ T. 4. xi T. 33. 



inhabitant of southern Siberia,* all exemplifying, in a more or 
less marked manner, the characters of the Mongolian variety.f 

The same characters are strongly expressed in the skull of a 
Lapland female ; X and prove unequivocally that this race belongs 
to the Mongolian variety. 

The third or Ethiopian variety comprehends all the Africans 
which are not included within the first or Caucasian division ; 
aU of whom partake more or less of the well-known Negro form. 

The front of the head, including the forehead and face, is 
compressed laterally, and considerably elongated towards the 
front ; hence the length of the whole skull, from the teeth to 
to the occiput, is considerable. It forms, in this respect, the 
strongest contrast to that globular shape which some of the Cau- 
casian races present, and which is very remarkable in the Turk. 

The capacity of the cranium is reduced, particularly in its 
front part, where it appears as if the forehead had been sliced 
off. The face, on the contrary, is enlarged. 

" I measured," says Soemmerring, " several Negro, and 
nearly all my European crania, in order to compare the capacity 
of the respective cerebral cavities. I found in the former; 1st, 
That the measure taken by carrying a string from the root of 
the nose, along the middle of the forehead, and the sagittal 
suture, to the posterior edge of the foramen ovale, the length of 
the face being equal, was much shorter. 2ndly, That the hori- 
zontal circumference, measured by a string carried round the 
head above the eyebrows, and the superior edge of the temporal 
bone, was much less. 3dly, That neither the long diameter 
from the forehead to the occiput, nor any transverse diameter 
between the parietal or the temporal bones, is equal to the 
corresponding one in the European. "§ 

The frontal bone is shorter, and, as well as the parietal, less 
excavated and less capacious than in the European ; the tem- 
poral ridge mounts higher, and the space which it includes is 

* T. 33. This skull was taken from one of the very ancient burial-places 
which are found near the workings of old mines in the mountainous parts of 
Siberia, and are ascribed bv the natives to Tschuda; or barbarians. They are 
particularly described by Pallas, Meise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Rus- 
sischen Reichs; t. iii. p. 608 et seq. Neither history nor tradition has pre- 
served any memorials of the people whose remains and works are found in 
these situations. The lightness of the skull, from the entire loss of the animal 
substance, corresponds with this fact in proving the high antiquity of this 
race ; and its physical characters accord with those of the tribes who now 
occupy the same region, 

t A Calmuck skull of very characteristic form is represented inE. Sandifort 
Museum Jlcademicurn Ltidg, Bat. v. i. tab. 1. 

t Dec. Qluinta; tab. 43. 

\ Ueher die kiJrperliche Verschiedenhcit des JVegers des votn Europaer ; \ 50. 


much more considerable. The front of the skull seems com- 
pressed into a narrow keel-hke form between the two powerful 
temporal muscles, which rise nearly to the highest part of the head; 
and has a compressed figure, which is not equally marked in the 
entire head ; on account of the thickness of the muscles. Instead 
of the ample swell of the forehead and vertex, which rises 
between and completely surmounts the comparatively weak 
temporal muscles of the European, we often see only a small 
space left between the two temporal ridges in the Ethiopian. 

The foramen magnum is largei*, and hes farther back in the 
head : the other openings for the passage of the nerves are larger. 

The bony substance is denser and harder ; the sides of the 
skull thicker, and the whole weight consequently more con- 

The bony apparatus employed in mastication, and in forming 
receptacles for the organs of sense, is larger, stronger, and more 
advantageously constructed for powerful effect, than in the races 
where more extensive use of experience and reason, and greater 
civilization, supply the place of animal strength. 

If the bones of the face in the Negro were taken as a basis, 
and a cranium were added to them of the same relative magni- 
tude which it possesses in the European, a receptacle for the 
brain would be required much larger than in the latter case. 
However, we find it considerably smaller. Thus the intellectual 
part is lessened, the animal organs are enlarged: proportions 
are produced just opposite to those which are found in the 
Grecian ideal model. The facial angle of the skuR engraved in 
Plate VIII. is 65o. The narrow, low, and slanting forehead, 
and the elongation of the jaws into a kind of muzzle, give to 
this head an animal character, which cannot escape the most 
cursory examination. 

A similar head, with a similar facial angle, has been figured 
by Ed. Sandifort.* It is sufificiently obvious, that on a 
vertical anteroposterior section of the head, the area of the face 
will be more considerable in proportion to that of the cranium, 
in such a skull, than in the fine European forms. 

The larger and stronger jaws require more powerful muscles. 
The temporal fossil is much larger ; the ridge which bounds it 
rises higher on the skull, and is more strongly marked, than in 
the European. The thickness of the muscular mass may be 
estimated from the bony arch, wthin which it descends to the 

* Museum Acad. Litgd. Bat. t. i. tab. 3. 
M 2 


lower jaw. The zygoma is larger, stronger, and more capacious 
in the Negro ; the cheek-bones project remarkably, and are very 
strong, broad, and thick : hence they aflford space for the 
attachment of powerful masseters. 

The orbits, and particularly their external apertures, are capa- 

Both entrances to the nose are more ample, the cavity itself 
considerably more capacious, the plates and windings of the 
ethmoid bone more complicated, the cribriform lamella more 
extensive, than in the European. The ossa nasi are flat and 
short, instead of forming the bridge-like convexity which we 
see in the European. They run together above into an acute 
angle, which makes them considerably resemble the single tri- 
angle nasal bone of the monkey. In the Negro skull engraved 
in Plate VIII., they are nearly consolidated together in their 
whole length. 

The superior maxillary l)one is remarkably prolonged in front ; 
its alveolar portion and the included incisor teeth are oblique, 
instead of being perpendicular, as in the European. The nasal 
spine at the entrance of the nose is either inconsiderable 
or entirely deficient. The palatine arch is longer and more 
elliptical. The alveolar edge of the lower jaw stands forward, 
like that of the upper ; and this part in both is narrow, elon- 
gated, and elliptical. The chin, instead of projecting equally 
with the teeth, as it does in the European, recedes considerably 
like that of the monkey. 

The preceding description of the Negro cranium must be 
taken in a general sense, with an allowance for exceptions and 
individual modifications. It is drawn from strongly-marked 
examples, and cannot therefore be received as universally and 
strictly applicable. We seldom meet with instances in which 
the animal character is so strongly portrayed as in the subject 
of the eighth plate. The depression, narrowness, and flatness 
of the forehead, the great size and projection of the jaws, are 
carried here to an extraordinary and very striking degree. 
Travellers inform us that several Africans diSer from the Euro- 
pean formation in little more than colour ; so that the peculiar 
construction of the head, on the faith of which some would class 
these people as a distinct species, is by no means a constant 

This diversity of form is abundantly proved by delineations 
of Africans executed by the best artists ; and is well illustrated 


by the engravings which Blumenbach has published of six 
African heads,* all differing from each other, and exhibiting as 
much variety as we see in Europeans. They vary considerably 
in the development and prominence of the forehead, in the size 
and arching of the nasal bones, in the projection of the jaws and 
teeth, the formation of the chin, and in other points ; and fuUy 
justify his conclusion, " genuinos iEthiopes, si craniorum for- 
mam spectes, non minus certe, imo vero magis passim inter 
seipsos ab invicem differre, quam nonnulli eorum a multorum 
Europaeorum capitis forma difFerunt."'t" 

The tribes in the south of Africa, that is, near the European 
colony at the Cape — the Hottentots, KafFers, Bosjesmen, &c. 
are not yet enough known to enable us to decide whether they 
ought to be arranged under the Ethiopian variety, or whether 
they belong to a difFerent type. Blumenbach has figured 
and described a skull in his last Decade ; I and, more recently, 
CuviER has published an account of a female head. In some 
points these two specimens differ from each other remarkably. 

In the male Bosjesman's head represented by Blumenbach, 
the cranium is less compressed than in the Negro. The orbits 
and cheek-bones are wide, the jaws not at aU prominent, the 
incisor teeth with their edveoli and chin in the same perpendi- 
cular line. The latter is remarkably narrow and sharp. The 
nasal bones are very small, and nearly in the same plane v.-ith 
the nasal processes of the superior maxillae. 

" The bony head of our female Bosjesman," says Cuvier, 
" presented a striking combination of the traits of the Negro 
with those of the Calmuck. In the Negro the mouth is pro- 
minent, the face and cranium compressed laterally: in the Cal- 
muck the jaws are flattened, and the face wide. In both, the 
bones of the nose are smaller and flatter than in the European. 
Our Bosjesman had the jaws more projecting than the Negro, 
the face wider than the Calmuck, and the nose flatter than 
either. In the latter respect particularly, her head came nearer 
to that of the monkey than any I ever saw. From these general 
arrangements many particular traits of structure result : the 
orbits are very wide in proportion to their height ; the entrance 
of the nostrils has a peculiar form ; the palate has a larger sur- 
face ; the incisor teeth are more oblique ; the temporal fossa 
more extensive, &c. 

" I also find that the occipital foramen is proportionally larger 

• Dec. prima; tab. 6, 7, 8. Dec. altera; tab. 17, 18, 19. 

+ Dec. altera, p. 13. % Dec quitita, tab. 45. 


than in other heads ; which, acccording to the views of Soem 
MERRING, would indicate an inferior nature."* 

The characters of the Ethiopian variety, as observed in the 
genuine Negro tribes, may be thus summed up : 1 . Narrow and 
depressed forehead ; the entire cranium contracted anteriorly : 
the cavity less, both in its circumference and transverse measure- 
ments. 2. Occipital foramen and condyles placed farther back. 
3. Large space for the temporal muscles. 4. Great development 
of the face. 5. Prominence of the jaws altogether, and pas- 
ticularly of their alveolar margins and teeth ; consequent obli- 
quity of the facial line. 6. Superior incisors slanting. 7. Chin 
receding. 8. Very large and strong zygomatic arch projecting 
towards the front. 9. Large nasal cavity. 10. Small and flat- 
tened ossa nasi, sometimes consolidated, and running into a 
point above. 

In all the particulars just enumerated, the Negro structure 
approximates unequivocally to that of the monkey. It not only 
differs from the Caucasian model, but is distinguished from it 
in two respects ; the intellectual characters are reduced, the 
animal features enlarged and exaggerated. In such a skull as 
that represented in the eighth plate, which indeed has been par- 
ticularly selected, because it is strongly characterized, no per- 
son, however little conversant with natural history or physio 
logy, could fail to recognise a decided approach to the animal 
form. This inferiority of organization is attended with corres- 
ponding inferiority of faculties ; which may be proved, not so 
much by the unfortunate beings who are degraded by slavery, as 
by every fact in the past history and present condition of 

I state these plain results of observation and experience with- 
out any fear that you will find in them either apology or excuse 
for Negro slavery. In the warm and long disputes on this sub- 
ject, both parties have contrived to be in the wrong in the ques- 
tion regarding the Negro faculties. The abolitionists have errred 
in denying a natural inferiority so clearly evinced by the con- 
curring evidences of anatomical structure and experience. But 
it was only an error of fact, and may be the more readily ex- 
cused as it was on the side of humanity. 

Tlieir opponents have committed the more serious moral 
mistake of perverting what should constitute a claim to kind- 
ness and indulgence into justification or palliation of the revolt- 
ing and antichristian practice of traflfic in human flesh; a prac- 
• Extrait d' Observations sur la Fentis Hottentotte : Mem. du Museum, pp. 270-7L 


tice branded with the double curse of equal degradation to the 
oppressor and the oppressed. This very argument, which has 
been used for defence, seems to me a tenfold aggravation of the 
enormity. Superior endowments, higher intellect, greater capa- 
city for knowledge, arts, and science, should be employed to 
extend the blessings of civilization, and multiply the enjoyments 
of social life ; not as a means of oppressing the weak and 
ignorant, of plunging those who are naturally low in the intel- 
lectual scale stiU more deeply into the abyss of barbarism. 

When we see a strong and well-armed person attack one 
equally powerful and well-prepared, we are indifferent as to the 
issue ; or we may look on with that interest which the qualities 
called forth by the contest are calculated to inspire. But, if the 
strong attack the weak, if the well-armed assail the defenceless, 
if the ingenuity, knowledge and skill, the superior arts and arms 
of civilized life are combined to rob the poor savage of his only 
valuable property, personal liberty, we turn from the scene with 
indignation and abhorrence. 

They who possess higher gifts should remember the condi- 
tion under which they are enjoyed : " From him to whom much 
is given, much will be expected." What a commentary on this 
text is furnished by Negro slavery, as carried on and permitted 
by religious nations, by Christian kings. Catholic majesties, 
defenders of the faith, &c. ! 

In the two following varieties the figure of the skiall is not so 
strongly characterized as in the three which have been already 
considered. They form, indeed, two intermediate gradations 
between the European and the Mongolian on one side, and the 
African on the other. 

The fourth, or American variety, includes all the Americans, 
excepting the inhabitants of the noi-thern parts of the continent, 
which I have placed in the Mongolian division. 

In this variety the cheeks are broad, but the malar bones are 
more rounded and arched than in the Mongolian ; and not ex- 
panded to such an extent on either side, nor possessing such an 
angular form. The forehead is small and low; the orbits deep ; 
and the nasal cavity, in many cases at least, very large. The 
entire bony apparatus of the face is in general much developed. 

Blumenbach has published several specimens, in which the 
characters just enumerated are exemplified. Tab. 9 is the head 
of a North American savage executed for murder at Philadelphia. 
It is remarkable for the flatness and depression of the ver-- 


tex, the development of the region above the ear, and the great 
size of the olfactory apparatus. Blumenbach considers that 
the latter circumstance explains the anecdotes related by travel- 
lers of their extraordinary acuteness in the sense of smelling 

The form of this skull entirely agrees with the engraved poi- 
traits of eight Cherokee Indians,* all of whom have prominent 
cheeks, and the upper part of the skull depressed. 

The head of an American from an Indian burial-place on the 
eastern bank of the Mississippi, about 40° north latitude, tab 
38, presents a conformation approaching more to the Caucasian 
than to the Mongolian. In a race, of which the characters are 
intermediate between two others, we may reasonably expect that 
some individuals will approximate to one and some to the other 

The Esquimaux f and the Greenlanders X form a transition 
from, the American to the Mongolian variety ; they have broad 
cheek-bones, large jaws and face, and small flattened nose. The 
size of the head altogether, and particularly the cranium, ia 
larger in the latter than in the former. The figures of Blumen- 
bach correspond to the best descriptions of these people, in 
which the largeness of their heads is noticed. 

The head of an ancient Aturian, brought by Humboldt § 
from the subterranean excavations in the granite rocks at the 
cataracts of the Orinoco in New Andalusia, exemplifies the low 
slanting forehead, as well as other points of the American for- 
mation. The entrance of the nose and the whole apparatus of 

* There is an engraving, by Basire, of seven ; Lond. 1730. Thayendaneoga, 
a chief of the Six Nations, is represented in an engraving by Smith, from a. 
painting by Romney, 1779. 

t Tab. 24 and 25 are engravings of two Esquimaux crania from the Danish 
colony of Nain oa the coast of Labrador. The strong characters of these 
crania, and the marked affinity which they exhibit to the Ameriian and Mon- 
golian races, concur with all accurate descriptions of the pbjsical character 
of the people in refuting the strange opinion of Robertson {Hist, of America; 
V. ii. p. 40,) that the Esquimaux are descendants from the Normans. Blumen- 
bach, Dec. iii. p-. 8 10. A similar skull from Ilond Eylapd (Dug's Island), 
rear Disko, in Baffin's Bay, is described by Winslow. Mem. de V Acad, des 
Sciences; 1722. 

t The heads of a Greenland man and woman are represented in tab. 36 and 
37 : they came from the Daniah colony Godhavn, on the west coast of Green- 
land. " They are large, and the cranium in particular is ample, and elongated 
posteriorly. The bono is remarkably thin and light, in proportion to the size. 
The orbits are large ; the nasal bones long but very narrow." lb. Dec. iv. p. 13. 

{ Blumenbach, Dec. v. tab. 46. In one of the cav.erns visited by this indefa- 
tigable and enlightened traveller, there were the remains of six hundred bodies, 
each of which was contained in a basket or bag. These remains consisted 
either of the bones alone, of their natural white colour, or reddened by annatto, 
or of the same preserved in the way of mummies, with a mixture of bitumen 
and leaves. There were, moreover, sarcophaguses of unbaked clay, five feet 
long and three wide, painted with figures of crocodiles, and full of bones. The 
situation of these cataracts is 5" 39' N. Lat, 50" W. Long, from Ferro. p. 14. 


smelling are very large. The heads of a Brazilian man and 
woman * have the low forehead, broad face, and large nose of 
the American variety. In a general roundness of figure they 
agree with the descriptions of the natives of Brazil. 

The head of the man is very ingeniously and perfectly pre- 
served entire, in the state of mummy. It is not separated from » 
an entire embalmed body, but must have been cut oflF immediately 
after death, as the skin of the neck is equally drawn in all 
directions towards the foramen magnum, and fixed there by the 
bituminous matter employed in the process. The skin pre- 
serves that copper colour verging to black which distinguishes 
the Brazilians. The head is shaved round the vertex ; what is 
left on the top of the head, and about the ears, is short, strong, 
and of the deepest black. A thin beard appears on the upper 
lip and part of the chin. The orbits and mouth are filled with 
a bituminous mass. It hangs by a cotton string fixed to the 
mouth. The slit in the external ear is filled with portions of 
cotton. A sjjlendid ornament composed of the finest feathers 
of the red tantalus, the toucan, and the most briUiant parrots, 
covered the forehead. -f 

There is no American, nor indeed any other race, in which 
the forehead is so low as in the Caribs. And in order to exag- 
gerate a character, which they deemed beautiful, they had re- 
course to artificial means of flattening this region at the time 
when the bones are soft, and capable of yielding to artificial 
pressure. As the same character of a low forehead characterizes 
all the Americans in a greater or less degree, similar attempts 
to increase this natural defect have been made by other tribes, 
as well as the Caribs, in both North and South America. 

The tenth plate exhibits a skull belonging to the College 
Museum ; in which there are no evidences of any artificial cliange 
of figure, 'llie development of the anterior cerebral lobes must 
have been more imperfect in this indindual, than in any other 
example which I have seen. Setting aside Mhat we should term 
this natural defect, the organization is perfect. The bony sub- 
stance is dense, compact, and hard, and the entire skull con- 
sequently very heavy. The size of the head, (which is greater 
than the engraving) and the strong muscular impressions, cor- 
respond, as well as the hardness of the bone, with the accounts, 
which eye-witnesses have furnished, of the colossal stature and 

• Blumenbach, tab. 47, 48. t Dec. quinta, p. 15, IQ. 

II 3 


great strength of this race.* The frontal bone is rather pro- 
minent at the glabella; it continues nearly horizontally backwards 
from the orbits, rising a little towards the vertex. A slight convex 
protuberance on each side marks the situation of the anterior 
cerebral lobes. The temporal fossa is large, and the skull con- 
sequently not wide in its lateral measurement. Although thus 
contracted at its upper and fore part, the bony receptacle of the 
brain swells out below and behind into its usual size ; the fosse 
cerebelli are large. 

This singular formation is attended with a change in the dis- 
tribution and support of the weight. I have already mentioned 
that in the human head the parts in front of the occipital con- 
dyles are heavier than those behind ; so that the head falls for- 
ward when left to itself, and is only retained in equilibrio, in 
the erect posture, by muscular contraction. (See page 121.) 
In this Carib skull, however, the parts behind preponderates, 
and that very decidedly ; so that, I apprehend, the eyes must 
be habitually directed upwards ; which is the more probable, 
as the orbits, in some degree, look upwards, even when the 
zygomas are horizontal. The face is characterized by its great 
size and strength, and the marked development of all its parts. 
What the front of the skull has lost, seems compensated here. 
The nasal bones are not very small nor flat ; the cavity is ample ; 
the jaws and teeth powerful. The superior maxillary bone is 
very long from the orbit to the alveoh, and slopes regularly for- 
ward in this part. 

Another Carib skull in the College Museum coincides with 
this in the form of the forehead, in the direction of the eyes 
upwards, and in the preponderance of the parts placed behind 
the foramen magnum. 

The same character is seen in a skull engraved in the Journal 
<h Physique jf but the representation is too badly executed to 
admit of a satisfactory determination whether it is a natural 
formation, or the effect of art. Its very general existence in the 
native tribes of America is expressly and strongly pointed out 
by Humboldt. " There is no race on the globe, in which the 

* " The Caribheos, properly speaking, those who inhabit the Missions of 
the Cari, in the Llanos of Cumana, the banks of the Caura, and the plains to 
the north-east of the sources of the Orinoco, are distinguished by their almost 

figantic stature from all the other nations I have seen in the new continent." 
l\imho\di. Personal Narrative ; v. iii. p. 286. These people are called Caribbees 
(Carives) by the first navigators, and are still known by that name throughout 
Spanish America : although the French and Germans have transformed it into 
Carai'bes, and the English have shortened it into Caribs. Jbid. 284, 
+ April, 1789, v. 3-1 ; tab. 1. 


frontal bone is more depressed backwards, or which has a less 
projecting forehead, than the American." "This extraordinary- 
flatness is to be found among nations, to whom the means of 
producing artificial deformity are totally unknown, as is proved 
by the crania of Mexican Indians, Peruvians, and Atures, 
brought over by Mr. Bonpland and myself, and of which 
several were deposited in the Museum of Natural History at 

He thinks that " the custom of flattening the head had its 
origin in the idea that beauty consists in such a form of the 
frontal bone, as to characterize the race in a decided manner." — 
" The Aztecs, who never disfigure the heads of their children, 
represent their principal divinities, as their hieroglyphical manu- 
scripts prove, with a head much more flattened than any I have 
seen among the Caribs."* 

That, in compliance ^vith a strange notion of beauty, attempts 
are made by these people to flatten their foreheads still further, 
and that for this pupose they subject children's heads to pressure 
immediately after birth, and continue it for some time, is proved 
by the most respectable and abundant testimony. In certain 
crania very unequivocal marks of this process are found ; actual 
identations of the forehead, producing a degree of deformity 
quite difl'erent from natural depression of the skull, or from the 
instances of malformation, which are occasionally seen. Some, 
indeed, have argued that even these are natural forms, and have 
boldly denied the possibility of producing the effect by such 
means as those described. f 

The bones are the most solid parts of our frame ; and form 
a kind of firm support and foundation, on which the softer 
structures rest. Yet physiological experiments, and the pheno- 
mena of disease, prove that they change more easily, than the 
softer parts of the body. Their elements are continually de- 
tached and removed in an insensible manner l)ythe absorbents ; 
while the loss thus occasioned is repaired by the deposition of 
other particles newly secreted from the blood. This continual 
change in the bony materials of the body is well illustrated by 
the experiment of mixing madder with the food of animals. 
Soon after this has been begun, the bony substance is found of 

• Political Essay, v. i. p. 154, and note. 

+ Sabatier, Traite d' Anatomie, t. i. p. 25. Camper in Kleinere ScJiriften, 
V. i. p. 17. Arthaud in Journal de Physique, April, 1789. Dissertation sur la 
Conformation de la Tete des CaraXbes, ct sur quelqut's Usages hizarres attrihuees 
a des Nations sauvages. 


a pink colour throughout ; and this dye is as quickly removed, 
when the madder is no longer administered. The short period, 
in which such changes are brought about, forms a striking 
contrast to the indelible nature of the marks produced in the 
cutis by gunpowder and other colouring matters. The uninter- . 
rupted exchange of particles, carried on in the bones from the 
period of their first formation, allows them to accommodate 
themselves to the neighbouring parts, and to become, as it 
were, formed and fashioned by their action. The conformation 
of the head affords the most unequivocal proof of this 
circumstance. The internal surface of the cranium exhi- 
bits a mould of the lobes and convolutions of the brain, 
to which it Avas adapted ; and the external surface displays 
the most manifest impressions from the actions of muscles, 
as well as traces of the form of the features, the general confi- 
guration of which may be easily conjectured from a view of the 
bony skull. In like manner, the shape of the bones may be 
affected by the pressure of tumours, by collections of pus in their 
cavities, by constant weights, as that of the trunk bearing on 
the lower limbs, before their substance is hard enough. Hence 
we cannot doubt that the cranium may experience a partial 
change of figure if a given external pressure can be kept up for 
some time ; and the comparative softness of its texture at birth 
renders that a very favourable period for such attempts. 

The objection wiU occur, that the functions of the brain would 
be suspended by an effectual pressure ; that the infant's life 
would be endangered. They who have seen a child's head, 
after it had passed through a small pelvis in a difficult labour, 
under which circumstances it is often found squeezed into an 
oblong shape, will not entertain much apprehension for the 
effects of such manoeuvres as are said to be practised on the 
Carib and other American newly-born infants. It is not neces- 
sary, however, to suppose the force so considerable, as to affect 
the figure of the bone at the time ; I should rather apprehend 
that the ultimate effect is produced by the continued action of a 
gentle pressure ; as the thigh and leg of a rickety child slowly 
yield to the weight of the body. The change of form is pro- 
duced organically, not mechanically. 

Should it be objected, that such unnatural violence would 
prevent or impede the development of the brain, and could not 
be borne without fatal results ; I reply, that if the fact can be 
established, the supposition, on which this objection rests, must 


be ungrounded. And that it is so, I am further induced to 
believe by cases of large bony tumours growing within the skull, 
and encroaching on the brain, without causing any of those incon- 
veniences or dangers, which a small sudden pressure often pro- 
duces. In the newly-born child too, when the sutures are all 
open, the brain, if prevented from growing in one direction, may 
expand easily in other quarters. 

I conclude, therefore, that the thing is possible ; and I shall 
add the evidence, which seems to me quite sufficient to prove 
that it is true. 

Besides the Carib skull, which I have already described, in 
which the forehead indeed is extremely low, but the continuity 
of outline, regularity of form, symmetry and harmony of parts, 
prove that it is a natural organization ; there are many others, 
in which the regular outline is interrupted, the smooth convexity 
of the skull harshly and abruptly disturbed, an uneven rising 
and sinking surface substituted for the natural uniform swell of 
the forehead, and a configuration is thus produced, such as 
would naturally arise from the alleged artificial process, but 
totally different from any thing in the works of nature. 

Various modes of proceeding are described ; the difference in 
this respect, in the method of application, the length and con- 
stancy of the process, the residence of the skull and brain during 
the pressure, and the degree of recovery after its cessation, 
account for the individual diversities in these compressed skulls. 

The tenth plate of Blumenbach's first Decade is the head 
of a male Carib from the island of St. Vincent,* in which the 
frontal bone, originally very low, presents a broad indentation 
about its middle. The enumerated characters are, " a depressed 
forehead (frons retropressa) ; orbits surprisingly large, patulous, 
and looking upwards, as is seen in hydr jcephalic patients ; the 
orbital plate of the frontal bone slanting downwards, and the 
superciliary margin very obtuse." P. 26. 

In his second Decade,t Blumenbach has figured the skull 

• This is the race, which occupieJ the V/est Indian islands at the time of 
their first discovery by Columbus, and agreed in physical characters with the 
Caribsof the continent already alluded to p. 2.)0, note *, from whom they were 
originally derived. European hostility and encroachment confined the last 
small remnant of this unfortunate race on a part of the island of St. Vincent's. 
They were here distinguished, under the name of Red Caribs, from the de- 
scendants of some Negroes who escaped from a shipwreck, and whose num- 
bers were perhaps augmented in other ways, who were called Black Caribs. 
The latter are merely Negroes. The hostilities of the two races have been very 
fatal to the former ; who are now nearly extinct. Edwards, History of the 
}Fest Indies; i. p. 411. 

+ Tab. 20; p. 15. 


of a female Cajpj from the same island as the preceding, where 
the forehead is much lower, and the orhits are in like manner 
directed upwards. How strikingly it deviates from the ordinary 
construction may be collected from the author's expressions: 
" prodigiosum plane cranium " — " horrida et fere monstrosa 
bujus capitis distortio." The contraction of the front seems to 
have been compensated by expansion of the lateral and posterior 
parts ; so that this head, when placed on the vertebral column, 
must evidently have preponderated backwards. 

A head, in all points very similar to this, is in the possession 
of Dr. Leach : a broad flat surface above, or rather behind the 
eyes, seems to mark out the situation and action of the pressure. 
The preponderance of the parts behind the occipital condyles is 
the same. 

The kindness and liberality of Mr. Cline enable me to add 
the engraved representation of a very interesting specimen from 
his collection, and thus to illustrate, by direct contrast, the 
difference between the natural and artificial form of the Carib 
head. Tlie artificial excavation of the frontal bone and the 
superficial risings denoting the anterior cerebral lobes, are 
obvious on the first inspection. It is clear too, that this indivi- 
dual would have had naturally a very low forehead. A violent 
and unnatural bulge behind and at the sides seems to show that 
the contraction in front has been compensated by an equivalent 
extension in those quarters. Tlie figure of the occipital bone is 
so changed, that the external transverse ridge, which naturally 
forms the posterior boundary of the basis cranii, is now far 
within that boundary. The face is broad across the eyes and 
cheeks ; the interval between the orbits wide ; those cavities are 
large, shallow, and directed upwards. The facial angle is 66°. 
The distance from the posterior edge of the vomer to the corres- 
ponding vertical point of the head is only 2f inches : the 
transverse measurement at the same point 6 inches, across the 
coronal suture 6| inches. The distance from the alveolar edge 
of the superior maxilla to the back of the occiput is 8 inches ; 
from the occiput to the posterior edge of the foramen magnum 
3^, to the anterior 4^. When the skuU is supported on the 
condyles, the back part greatly preponderates. 

The skuU, like that which Dr. Leach possesses, came from 
the island of St. Vincent's. It was presented to Mr. Cline by 
a surgeon of Tobago ; who stated that the individual had been 
chief of the Red Caribs in St. Vincent's ; that he used to come 


to Tobago on the commercial and other business of his tribe; 
that he was well known there, and regarded as an intelhgent, 
well-informed, and prudent character.* 

A more detailed knowledge of the two Carib men, whose skulls 
are engraved in this book, would be highly interesting in phy 

A head precisely similar to this of Mr. Cline has been figured 
byHuNAUi^D in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences.f 

The inferences, to which these and similar specimens lead, 
are completely supported and confirmed by the unanimous tes- 
timonies of the most judicious and respectable travellers ; which 
cannot be set aside without a degree of scepticism that would 
equally prevent us from believing all that is stated on such 

La BAT relates that " the Caribs are all well made and pro- 
portioned ; their features are sufficiently agreeable, excei)ting 
the forehead, which appears rather extraordinary, being very 
flat, and as it were depressed. These people are not born so, but 
they force the head to assume that form, by placing on the 
forehead of the newly-born child a small plate, which they tie 
firmly behind. This remains until the bones have acquired their 
consistence ; so that the forehead is flattened to that degree that 
they can see almost perpendicularly above them, without elevat- 
ing the head."| 

CoNDAMiNE informs us that "the appellation Omaguas in 
tlie language of Peru, as weU as Cambevas in that of Brazil 
given to the same people by the Portuguese of Para, signifies 
flat-head. For they have the strange custom of pressing between 
two plates the forehead of their newly-born children, in order 
to give them this singular shape, and make them, as they say^ 
resemble the full moon.§ 

A collateral proof of these practices is afforded by their having 
been noticed, and expressly prohibited by the Spanish ecclesias- 

* Besides the skull, which is figured by Mr. Arthaud in the Journal de Phy- 
sique, t. xxxiv. he mentions another, in which there was a large depression in 
the centre of the os frontis. P. 2.53. 

t 1740, p. 371, tab. xvi. fig. 1. 

t Foyage aux Isles de V Ameriqiie, t. ii. p. 73. Blumenbach also cites the au- 
thority of Owiei}LO,Hisloria General de las Indi as ; 1535, p. 25: and Raymond 
Breton, Dictionnaire Cara'ibe-Franqois ; 1C65, 8vo. pp. 08, 92, 145, 289. The 
same custom which belonged originally to the red-coloured natives of the 
West Indies, has been adopted by the free Negroes or black Carilis of St. Vin- 
cent's. See Thibault de Chanvalon, Voyage a la Martinique, p. 39 ; and Amic 
iu Journal de Pliysique, v. xxxix. p. 132. 

S Mcmoires de I' Acad, des Scietices, 1745, pp. 427, 428. Ulloa gives the same 
testimony respecting the Omaguas; Travels in Soutk' America, y. i. p. 394: 
also Torquemada, .liwiarcy^m iVic/j'awa; t. iii. p. 023. 


tical councils (as related by Blum en bach), two hundred years 
ago. In the history of the Third Synod of the diocese of Lima, 
held in July 15S5, a decree was passed against the Indian prac- 
tice of disfiguring the head. " Cupientes penitus extirpare 
abusum et superstitionem, quibus Indi passim infantum capita 
formis imprimunt, quas ipsi vocant caito, oma, opalto ; — statui- 
mus et prjBcipimus," &c. &c. reciting various punishments, as, 
for instance, that any woman found guilty, " frequentet doc- 
trinam per continues decem dies mane et vesperi, pro prima 
culpa; pro secunda vero per viginti," &c.* 

This custom has prevailed as much in North, as in South 
America, and in the islands. Adair says that the northern 
savages " flatten their heads in divers forms ; but it is chiefly 
the crown of the head they depress, in order to beautify them- 
selves, as their wild fancy terms it, for they call us Long-heads 
by way of contempt." *' They fi.Y the tender infant on a kind 
of cradle, where his feet are tilted above a foot higher than a 
horizontal position ; his head bends back into a hole made on 
purpose to receive it ; when he bears the chief part of his weight 
on the crown of the head, upon a small bag of sand, without 
being in the least able to move himself."t 

Lastly, the very interesting narrative of the journey to the 
source of the Missouri, performed by Messrs. Lewis and 
Clarke, informs us that the attempts at beautifying the head, 
by flattening its fore-part, have been and are very extensively 
practised among nearly all the tribes situated on the west of 
that great range of mountains, running nearly parallel to the 
west coast of America, from which the waters flow on one sid« 
to the Pacific, and on the other into the Mississippi and its various 
tributary streams. 

" The most distinguishing part of their physiognomy is the 
peculiar flatness and width of their forehead, a peculiarity which 
they owe to one of those customs by which nature is sacrificed 
to fantastic ideas of beauty. The custom, indeed, of flattening 
the head by artificial pressure during infancy, prevails among 
all the nations we have seen west of the Rocky Mountains. To 
the east of that barrier the fashion is so perfectly unknown, 
that there the western Indians, with the exception of the Allia- 
tan or Snake nation, are designated by the common name of 

• J. S. de Aguirre Colleclio maxima Concilioi-um omnium Hispanice et Novi 
Orbis; ed. ii. Roma?, 1755, fol. t. vi. p. 204. 

+ History of the North American Jiidians, p. 8. See also Lawson's History of 
Carolina, p. 33 ; and Charlevoix, Hitt. de la Nouvelle France, t. iii. pp. 187—323, 


nat-heads."— " WhercA'er it may have begun, the practice is 
now universal among these nations. Soon after the birth of the 
child, the mother, anxious to procure for her infant the recom- 
mendation of a broad forehead, places it in the compressing 
machine, where it is kept for ten or twelve months ; though the 
females remain longer than the boys. The operation is so 
gradual, that it is not attended with pain ; but the impression ia 
deep and permanent. The heads of the children, when they are 
released from the bandage, are not more than two inches thick 
about the upper edge of the forehead ; and still thinner above : 
nor, with all its efforts, can nature ever restore its shape ; the 
heads of grown persons being often in a straight line from the 
nose to the top of the forehead."* 

Besides this general statement, applying to the western tribes 
altogether, these enterprising travellers note the existence of the 
practice on many particular occasions ; as among the SkiUoots 
(p. 389) ; the Wahkiacums (p. 392) ; the Sokulks, where the 
head was so flattened, that the forehead runs straight from the 
nose to the crown (p. 351); and the Chinnooks, whose heads 
they speak of as having been flattened in a most disgusting 
manner. In one tribe which they saw on the Pacific, they ex- 
pressly mention that the custom did not exist (p. 428.) 

That nothing might be wanting to this part of the proof, the 
very bandages employed by the Caribs have been brought into 
Europe. A description and figures of them may be seen in the 
Journal de Physique.^ 

The fifth, or Malay variety, including the inhabitants of the 
numerous Asiatic islands, and those of the Great Pacific Ocean, 
constitutes an intermediate link between the European and 
Negro. The cranium is moderately narrowed and slanting at 
its anterior and upper part ; the face large, and all its parts fully 
developed ; the jaws more or less prominent. 

• Travels to the Source of the Missouri, chap, xxiii. See also Meares of 
the natives about Noolka Sound ; Voyages from China to tJtt TV. iV. Coast of 
America, p. 249. 

+ Aug. 1791, p. 132, tab. 1 & 2. The account is written by Dr. Amic, ^ 
physician of Guadaloupe, who had seen and conversed with both red and 
black Caribs in the West Indies. In mentioning the answers which they gave 
to his inquiries, he says, " Contre mon attente elles se reduisirent toutes a 
m'assurer qu'ils ne devoient Tapplatissement de leur front qu'k la pression 
d'une planclie garnie de coton, qu'on fixoit sur cette partie pour I'empecher 
d'acquerir la convcxite, qui lui est naturelle. C'etoit-IS. me dirent ils le carac- 
tdre de leur nation, Vour rimprimer on fait aux enfans porter qette planche 
jusqu'ii ce qu'ils soient assez <rrands, pour qu'il ne s'eftace pas. Je rcmarquai 
parnii eux un jeune homrue de seize ^ dixsept ans, dont le front etoit bomb^ 
comme celui d'un Nfigre. II repondit h. mon observation, que pour ne pas le 
defigurer comme les autres, son mere n'avoit pas voulu le soumettre ^ uavieil 
couturae." V. 133. 


It must be confessed that the numerous tribes included within 
the boundaries of this variety differ considerably from each 
other ; and consequently, that the whole cannot fall within any 
one clearly-marked character. The Papua race are described as 
having all the appearance of Negroes. I have seen no skull, 
nor any representation of one, belonging to a native of New 
Guinea. The New Hollanders certainly partake of the Negro 
fonn, yet are still easily distinguishable from African Negroes. 
In the two heads engraved by Bjlumenbach,* the forehead 
rather slants above the eyes, but the head rises to a considerable 
height at the coronal suture. The nose is not so flat, nor the 
zygoma so prominent, as in the African. The alveolar edge of 
the upper jaw projects in front ; the chin is not cut off, as in 
the Negro. The crania of New Hollanders which I have seen 
coiTespond with these. In some, as in a female skull in the 
College Museum, the superior incisors are placed as obliquely 
as in the Negro ; but none ha^'e so low a forehead and vertex 
as some of that race. 

The Otaheitean skull f does not differ in any essential points 
from the European formation, so far as the cranium goes. The 
front and lower part of the forehead may be a little contracted 
and slanting. The face is altogether large, and the upper jaw 
fully developed; its alveolar portion, too, projects slightly in front. 

The head of a native of Nukahiwah,t one of the group called 
the Marquesas Islands, presents a very beautiful and sj^rame- 
trical organization corresponding to the descriptions of the great 
stature, fine proportions, and strength of these islanders. Except 
that the face is larger, its lower part especially more consider- 
able and prominent than in the best models of the Caucasian 
variety, and that the jaws and teeth altogether have a marked 
projection, this head is not very essentially distinguished from 
that form. The forehead is indeed more slanting than in the 
intellectual European heads ; but the whole structure has un- 
equivocal marks of an organization calculated for strength. 

The skidl of a Buggess, § from the island of Celebes, has the 
low slanting forehead, large face, and prominent jaws of the true 
Negi'o ; but it combines the lateral expansion, particularly across 
the cheeks, of the Mongolian variety. 

The arrangement of skulls under the five general forms just 
described is, in a great measure, arbitrary. It must not, there- 
fore, be taken in a strict sense ; we must not expect to find all the 

• Tab. 27 and 40. + Ibid. tab. 26. 1; Ibid. tab. 50. } Ibid. tab. 49. 


individuals, comprised under each of these varieties, decisively 
distinguished by the assigned characters from all others. In 
the endless diversity of individual forms, many instances are 
met with, in each variety, of organizations approaching to those 
of the others : so that among many Europeans and Negroes we 
might select skulls in which it would be difficult to determine 
the predominant character. The two intermediate forms between 
the Caucasian middle, and the Ethiopian and Mongolian ex- 
tremes, complete the series of gradations. Of the numerous 
tribes or nations in each division, some come nearer to one and 
some to the other of the two immediately joining varieties. 
Thus the natives of some islands in the South Sea are hardly to be 
distinguished in countenance and head from Europeans ; while 
others approach as near to the Negroes. The Marquesans, the 
Society, Friendly, and Sandwich Islanders, might be almost 
arranged under the Caucasian variety ; while the natives of New 
Guinea, New Holland, Van Diemen's Land, New Britain, &c. 
Louisiade, &c. have strong claims to be admitted into the 
Ethiopian division ; and those of Solomon Islands, the New 
Hebrides, and New Zealand, form so many points of transition 
between the two. The same observation holds good of the 
other vai-ieties. Hence, if we had numerous specimens of 
each, we might arrange them in such a manner that the interval 
between the most perfect Caucasian model and the most exag- 
gerated Negro or Mongolian specimens should be fiUed with 
forms conducting us from one to the other by almost imper- 
ceptible gradations. We must therefore conclude that the diver- 
sities of features and of skulls are not sufficient to authorize us 
in assigning the different races of mankind in which they occur 
to species originally different. This conclusion will be strength- 
ened by the analogies of natural history. The differences 
between human crania are not more considerable, nor even so 
remarkable, as some variations which occur in animals con- 
fessedly of the same species. The head of the ^vild boar is 
widely different from that of the domestic pig. Tlie different 
breeds of horses and dogs are distinguished by the most striking 
dissimilarities in the skull : in which view the Neapolitan and 
Hungarian horses may be contrasted. The very singular form 
of the skull in the Paduan fowl is a more remarkable deviation 
from the natural structure than any variation which occurs in 
the human head. 

The oblique position of the anterior incisors in the Negroes 


and some other tribes, which have prominent jaws, is the only 
national difference I know of in the teeth. Their size and form 
exhibit merely indixadual differences. The complete and minute 
correspondence of the teeth in number and form through all 
races of men is a strong argument for the unity of the species. 

Blumenbach* has pointed out what he conceived to be a 
l>eculiarity in the teeth of some Egyptian mummies, which first 
attracted" his notice on examining two specimens in the year 
1779. The incisors, instead of possessing their ordinary thin 
cutting edges, were thick in their bodies, and resembled trun- 
cated cones ; the cuspidati were not pointed as is usual, but 
broad and flat on the masticating surface, and very similar to 
the neighbouring bicuspides. The same circumstances have 
been observed in other specimens, as in a mummy at Cambridge, 
described by Middleton ;t in another at Cassel ; X and in a 
third at Stuttgard. § Blumenbach observed a similar struc- 
ture in the head of a young mummy, which he opened in Lon- 
don ; 11 and in another which he received as a present from Mr. 
Turner of Cambridge.^ " There must," he observes, " be 
great differences in the crania of various mummies, when it is 
considered that the practice of embalming the body after death 
prevailed in Egypt for many ages, during which great vicis- 
situdes occurred in the government and inhabitants of the 
country ; consequently we cannot reasonably expect to find this 
formation of the teeth in every specimen. Yet it constitutes a 
singular variety, and deserves mention, as it may assist in dis- 
tinguishing the mummies of some particular age and nation. 
It would be difficult to assign a satisfactory cause for this pecu 
liarity ; yet we may not improbably ascribe it in great part to 
the kind of food taken by the Egyptians, which Diodorus 
Siculus expressly describes to have consisted of vegetables, 
roots, &c. Hence the teeth must have been worn down ; and 
it has been observed that these organs, when reduced by attri 
tion, or purposely diminished in length, grow thicker, both in 
man and animals."** 

* Von den Zdhnen der alien Mgyptier, und Ton den Mumien, in the Colling, 
Magazin der Wissensch. und Lttteralur. P. 1. 

3e gen. hum. var. nal. sect. iii. { 64. 

Beytrdge zur Naturgeschichte, part ii. Ueier den Mgypiien Mumien, ? 11. 

+ Monumenl. Jlntiq. in Works, v. iv. " Quod vero singulare et prodigii fere 
loco habendum (dentes), anterioros s. incisores, non acuti illi quidem atque ad 
incidendum apti, sed perinde ac maxillares lati plane atque obtusi sunt." 

J Bruckmann's A'achrichl von einer Mumie; Braunschweig. 

\ Blumenbach, Beylrcige ; partji. p. 98. 

n Philosophical Transactions, 1794, part ii. p. 184. 

1 Dec. quarta Craniorutn, p. 4. •* De i;. h. var. not. sect. iii. t 61. 



A similar formation of the teeth was noticed by Winslow* 
in the cranium of a Greenlander from the Isle of Dogs (Hond- 
Eyland), on the west coast of Greenland. " The incisors," says 
this anatomist, " are flat from before backwards, and short, 
instead of having a cutting edge ; hence they resemble grinders 
more than cutting teeth." " Mr. Riecke, who presented me 
with this cranium, said that the inhabitants of Hond-Eyland 
eat their meat raw." " They move their jaws in a very singular 
manner, and make several grimaces while chewing and swal- 
lowing. It was the observation of this spectacle that induced 
him to seek for an opportunity of discovering whether these 
islanders possessed any peculiarity of construction in their jaws 
or teeth." 

This account is confirmed by two Esquimaux crania f in the 
possession of Blumenbach, which exhibit the same worn 
appearance of the teeth. It is well known, he observes, that the 
Esquimaux are derived from the same race with the Green- 
landers, and that their name has its origin from their practice 
of eating raw flesh. 

A similar configuration from the inferior incisors was found 
in the head of the Guanche mummy figured in Blumenbach's 
Fifth Decade, tab. xlii. p. 8. 

I have seen the same configuration in the heads of Egyptian 
mummies, and in other instances, and am fully convinced that 
there is no real original diflference in the form of the teeth in 
these cases ; and that the obser\-ed peculiarity is entirely o^ving 
to the mechanical attrition which the teeth had experienced in 
all the examples. As the incisors are wedge-shaped, and 
increase gradually in thickness from their cutting-edge to the 
gums, when half worn away they lose their natural appearance 
of cutting-teeth, and resemble in form those found in the crania 
above-mentioned. If the teeth are naturally large and strong, 
the appearance wll be more marked. We cannot admit an 
original difference of form until it is proved by the exhibition of 
eatire teeth in which the enamel has not been worn away from 
the masticating surface. 

At all events, the notion that the teeth grow thicker in con- 
sequence of the attrition of their surfaces, is not admissible. No 
point is more clearly ascertained than that these organs have no 
powers of growth, or organic change, and that they experience 
no alteration, after appearing through the gum, but that of 

• Mem de VAcad. des Sciences de Paris; 1722, p. 323, 
+ Dec. iorlia, tab. 24 and 25. 


mechanical wearing or chemical decay. That their substance 
possesses neither vessels nor nerves, is, I think, fully proved 
by what I have stated in another place.* 

The assertion of Buffon, Erxleben, and others, that the 
teeth of the Calmucks are longer and separated by wider in- 
tervals from each other, is contradicted by the specimens of 
their crania in the possession of Blumenbach. 

Certain colours and forms are given to the teeth artificially 
in some instances by way of ornament. 

Mr. Marsden f informs us, that the Sumatrans commu- 
nicate to the teeth a jetty blackness by the empyreumatic oil of 
the cocoa-nut shell ; and that they even abrade the enamel, that 
they may receive and retain the dye more perfectly. 

The very general practice among the Malays and Asiatic 
islanders, of chewing the Areka-nut, betel-leaf, and chunam or 
lime, X turns the teeth black, unless great pains are taken to pre- 
vent it, and covers them with a brownish black incrustation. 
From one or the other of these causes the teeth are blackened in 
the Javanese § the Birmans, |! Tunquinese, ^ and Buggesses.** 

Some Negro tribes file their teeth so as to make them conical 
and sharp-pointed; tt some file away their inner edges, Jt or notch 
•them ; §§ some even grind them away down to the gums. ||{| 

A more or less complete abrasion of the enamel is very com- 
mon among the Asiatic islanders.'ff^ 

The observations in the following chapter respecting the 
varieties of form in genei-al, include the subjects of national 
features and form of the skull. I shall only make a few remarks 
here on some attempts at explaining the latter subjects. 

Climate has generally been brought forwards as the cause of 
the varieties that distinguish man. It has been almost univer- 
sally represented as the source of differences in colour, and not 

* In Dr. Rees' Cyclopeedia, art. Cranium. t Hist, of Sumatra; ed. iii. p. 53. 

$ The practice is described particularly by Dampier, Voyaaes, v. i. p. 318 ; 
"It tastes rough in the mouth, and dyes the lips red, and tne teeth black; 
but it preserves them, and cleanscth the gums." See also v. ii. p. ."ji. 

\ Blumenbach, tab. 39. llawkesworth's Collection of Voyages, v. iii. 
pp. 286.— 347. Ij Symes, Embassy to Ava; v. ii. p. 335. 

IT D.ampier, v. ii. p. 41. ** Blumenbach, tab. 49. 

+t Churchill's Voyages, v. v. pp. 139, 143, 38rj. Philos. rmns. v. Ixxiii. p. 92. 
Winterbottom o?J the J^aiive Africans ; v. i. 104. The Sumatrans also do it: 
Marsden, p. 53. 

%% Tuckey's Narrative of a Voyage to the Congo, pp. 80—124. 

\\ Ibid. p. 210. 

nil Vancouver found in the natives of Trinidad Bay, on the north-west coast 
of America, that " all the teeth of both sexes were, by some process, ground 
uniformly down horizontally to the gums." v. ii. p. 217. It was also observed 
by Perouse, Voyage Round the World, v. ii. p. 138. 

Tilt In Magindanao ; Forrest, Voyage to Netv Guinea, p. 237 : in Celebes ; 
Blumenbach, Dec. v. tab. 49 : in Java, Hawkesworth, y, iii. p. 349. Blumen- 
bach, de g, h. var. nat, p. 231. 


much less depended on for solving the great problem of varie- 
ties of form. " The inquiry into the causes of difference of 
features is expose'd," says Blumenbach, "to such serious dif- 
ficulties, that we can only expect to arrive at a problem solution. 

That climate is the principal agent in producing difference of 
features is proved to my satisfaction by three arguments. 

"1. In the natives of certain regions a national countenancfc 
is so common and universal in persons of all conditions, that it 
can be referred to no other cause. The Chinese may serve as 
an example ; the characteristic flattened countenance being as 
general among them, as great symmetry and beauty are among 
the English and Majorcans. 

" 2. Unless I am greatly deceived, there are instances of 
people who, after leaving th&ir old abodes, have in progress of 
time assumed new features, corresponding to their new situa- 
tions. Thus the Yakuts are referred, by those who have inves- 
tigated northern antiquities, to the Tatar race : but their coun- 
tenance is now completely Mongolian, according to the reports of 
the most accurate observers, and to a Yakut skull in my collec- 
tion. Thus also it has been observed that the Creole offspring 
of European parents in the West India islands have, in some 
degree, exchanged their native British features for those cha- 
racteristic of the American aborigines, and have acquired their 
deeper eyes and higher cheeks." He adds, that the northern 
invaders, who have at different times entered India, have gra- 
dually assumed the character which the climate has impressed 
on the native Hindoos. 

" 3. Nations, which can be deemed only colonies of one and 
the same race, have acquired different characteristic countenances 
in different climates. It is now proved that the Hungarians 
and Laplanders come from one stock. The latter have acquired, 
in their northern abodes, the cast of countenance peculiar to the 
inhabitants of those cold regions ; while the former have 
assumed a more elegant formation in their milder seats near 
Greece and Turkey."* 

That so able a writer could find no better proofs in support of 
his opinion, only shows how completely unfounded that 
opinion is. 

The flat face of the Chinese not only extends throughout that 
vast empire, which covers nearly forty degrees of latitude, and 
seventy of longitude, but also over the neighbouring regions of 

• De g. h. var. nal. sect. iii. ? 57. 


central and northern Asia, the north of Europe, and of America ; 
over a very large portion of the globe, including every possible 
variety of heat and cold, elevation and lowness, moisture and 
dryness, wood, marsh, and plain. 

That European Creoles in the West Indies, in America, and 
in the East, have preserved their native features in all instances 
where no intermixture of blood has occurred, is proved by the 
uninterrupted experience of the Spaniards, Portuguese, and 
English, who have had foreign colonies, in climates most dif- 
ferent to their own, longer than any other nation. 

If the Yakuts, which are now decidedly Mongolian in their 
features, had originally the Caucasian formation, and if the 
northern invaders of India have assumed the Hindoo counte- 
nance, the change must have been effected by intermarriages. 
All who have visited India and attentively examined its various 
people, unanimously represent that the Afghauns and Mongols 
of pure blood are at this moment just as distinct in features from 
the Hindoos, as the parent races are in their original seats. 

Respecting the case of the Hungarians and Laplanders, if we 
admit their descent from one stock, which is probable, 1ft us 
next ascertain what the amount of the differences between them 
may be, and then inquire whether mixture with other races may 
not have produced these. 

Blumenbach proceeds to observe, that the intermixture of 
races has a great effect in modifying the natural countenance ; 
and that the ancient Germans, the modern Gipsies, and the 
Jews, afford examples of peculiar and distinctive casts of coun- 
tenance being preserved in every climate. These well-known 
facts are quite sufficient to overturn the hypothesis which refers 
the differences of features to climate ; and a short examination 
of the races in any part of the world wiU soon supply numerous 
additional ones. Indeed, I do not know a single well-established 
fact or sound argument in its favour.* 

Some have even attempted to show how climate might operate 
in producing national features. " En effet," says Volney, 
" j'observe que la figure des Negres represente precisement cet 
etat de contraction que prend notre visage lorsqu'il est frappe 
par la lumiere et une forte reverberation de chaleur. Alors le 
sourcil se fronce ; la pomme des joues s'eleve;"la paupiere se 
serre ; la bouche fait la moue. Cette contraction, qui a lieu 

• This subject will be resumed in the chapter on the causes of the varieties; 
of the human species. 


perpetuellement dansle pays nud et chaud desNegres, n'a-t-elle 
pas d\X devenir la caractere propre de leur figure ?"* Unfortu- 
nately for these speculations, the Negro features occur in 
numerous tribes spread over a great extent of country, with 
various climates, and in many instances where the heat is by no 
means excessive ; the character, too is permanent, after any 
number of generations, when the Negroes are taken into other 
climes. Again, the most opposite features occur under similar 
climates in different parts of the world. There are races ^A'ith 
flattened countenances as well as with narrow and elongated 
\'isages in hot countries. The whole notion is, however, so fan- 
ciful and so unphilosophic, that it hardly deserves serious atten- 
tion ; and I therefore regret to find that the idea is so far coun- 
tenanced by an instructive writer on this subject, that he speaks 
of the numerous gnats which annoy the New Hollanders as 
contributing to the formation of their peculiar physiognomy. 

The custom of carrying the children on the back has been 
referred to, in order to explain the flat nose and swoln lips of 
the Negro. In the violent motions required in their hard 
labour, as in beating or pounding millet, &c. the face of the 
young one is said to be constantly thumping against the back of 
the mother. This account is seriously quoted by Blumenbach. 
The testimonies concerning the employment of pressure, 
in order to flatten the nose, are so numerous and circumstantial, 
that we cannot doubt of the attempt being made. It is practised 
among the Negroes, Hottentots, Brasilians.f Sumatrans,^ and 
South Sea Islanders : § we have, however, no proof that the 
figure of the part is ever changed by such attempts ; while, on 
the contrary, it can be shown most clearly, that the well-kno^vn 
flatness of the nose is the natural formation of the organ in the 
Negro, and the notion of its being produced by pressure is 
justly ridiculed by that intelligent observer, Dr. Winter- 
bottom. II The children of African parents in Europe, America, 

• Voyage en Sgrie et Egypte, t. i. p. 74. 

+ De Lery, Voyage en la Terre du Brhil; pp. 98 — 265. 

t MaTsden, Hiitory of Sumatra ; p. 44. 

j " The figure of the nose seems to have been an object worthy the attention 
of the midwives of Otaheite; and since they are of opinion that a broadsome- 
what flat nose is ornamental, they depress the nose immediately after the 
birth of the child, and repeat this action upon the child while it is still tender." 
" The women of the Hottentots squeeze the noses of their children flat with 
the thumb (Kolbe, Descrijition of the Cape of Good Hope ; i. 52) ; andiu Macassar 
they flatten the noses of the children, and repeat the operation several times 
every day, softening the nose at the same time with oil or warm water." 
Forster, Ohs. on a Voyage Round the World ; pp. .593,594. See also p. 556. 

|[. Account of the A'ailre Jjjricans ; i. p. 201. 


and other situations, where there are opportunities of kno\ving 
that no means are used to flatten the nose, resemble in all 
respects those born in Africa. Why, indeed, should artificial 
causes be adduced to account for the flatness of the part in so 
many dark-coloured races, rather than for its convexity and 
prominence in others ? Do not the various parts of the coun- 
tenance harmonize equally in both cases ? Would it improve 
a Negro or a Chinese face to introduce into it an aquiline nose ? 
In short, these flat noses have all the characters of natural con- 
struction about them, equally with those of a different figure, 
and exhibit none of the marks of violence and artificial change, 
which are seen in the foreheads of some Caribs. Moreover, the 
diversities extend so generally through the whole bony fabric 
of the head, and are observable in so many parts where external 
pressure coidd have no influence, not to mention that they 
consist, in many instances, of formations just the reverse of 
what pressure could eflfect, that we cannot have the smallest 
hesitation in rejecting entirely the notion of external influence, 
and ascribing them to native variety. This conclusion is con- 
firmed by the fact, that all the peculiarities of the Negro cranium 
exist in the foetus ; that the prominent jaws, flat nose, and all 
other characters, are found as strongly marked in the youngest 
embryo, as in the adult. 

" I examined," says Soemmerring, "a Negro embryo and a 
child only a few months old, and found the jaws as prominent, 
the lov/er part of the nose as broad and flat as in the parents. 
There was no vestige of any violence ; but the form of the nose 
was naturally different from that of white children. Camper* 
examined several years 'ago, with the same view, Negroes of 
various ages, including foetuses. He observed nothing parti- 
cular in the nose ; but he concluded that this organ will be less 
prominent, other circumstances remaining the same, when the 
parts below it come forwards, and that the lips must be larger 
and thicker in order to cover the teeth completely. 

" My friend Blumenbach asserts, from the examination of 
two Negro children in the Royal Museum at Gottingen, what 
BuFFON also maintained, that the flat noses are congenital, not 
artificial, and refers to the engravings of Ruvsch and Seba in 

* In his Lecture on the Origin and Colour of the Blacks, describing the fcetus 
of an Angola Negress, he says, " You see that the nose, the lips, the whole 
face, correspond completely to those of adult Africans ; j-ou may be convinced 
that the nose is not depressed after birth, but that an immature being like this 
has already every lineament of its race." Kleinere Schrijten; b. i. st. 1. p, 43. 


confirmation of the same point. Loder possesses a Negro 
embryo of four or five months and a half, in which the pecuUar 
form of the nose and jaws is very plain." * 

These arguments receive a further confirmation from three of 
the crania engraved by Blumenbach f of a Jewish girl, five 
years old ; a Burat child, a year and a half; and a newly- born 
Negro ; in which the characters of the Caucasian, Mongolian, 
and Ethiopian varieties are as strongly represented as in the 
heads of adults. As these skulls are very characteristic, I have 
added an engraving of them to this work. (See Plate XII.) 


Varieties in Figure, Proportions, and Strength. — The Ears ; Effects of Jin 
upon them, and in other Parts of the Body. — The Mamma. — Organs of Gene- 
ration. — Fabulous Varieties. 

In consequence of the foramen magnum being placed further 
back in the head of the Negro than in that of the European 
(see p. 230), and of the head being consequently situated more 
fonvards on the vertebral column in the former than in the 
latter, the occiput of the Negro projects less behind the spine. 
Hence a line drawn from the posterior extremity of the skull 
along the nape of the neck, which dips in considerably under 
the head in the European, is nearly straight in the African, as 
if a part of the cranium had been sliced oflf. The hind head is 
still further reduced in the monkey kind. 

Artists have taken great pains to determine the proportions 
which the parts of the human body, the head, neck, trunk, and 
limbs, bear to each other ; and to discover the relative magni- 
tudes of these, which ought to be found in the best constructed 
frame ; in short, to fi.x a standard of perfection, or the model 
of beauty. If only one kind of form and one set of proportions 
were consistent with strength and activity, it would be worth 
while to pay some attention to these laborious efforts of painters 
and sculptors at establishing how many times the length of the 
head is contained in the whole body, in the trunk, the upper or 
lower limbs ; how many noses are in the head, &c. Even then, 
the strange method they have adopted, of measuring certain 
celebrated statues, seems as likely to accomplish the professed 
object of instructing us in natural proportions, as the academic 

t Ueher die korp. versch. \ 4. Ludwig gives a similar testimony respecting 
twoNegro embryos in his collection. Grundriss derJVaturgeschichte dermenschen 
Species, \ 148, p. 131. t Dec. altera, tab. 28, 29, 30. 

N 2 



exercises of drawing old painted casts are to confer a power of 
representing living forms and attitudes. A little attention to 
nature, which is indeed too often neglected in learned investi- 
gations of proportions, and in academy studies, will convince us, 
that even in the same race individual varieties are endless in 
number and great in degree, without any diminution of strength 
and activity ; and that forms and relations very different from 
each other may yet be thought equally beautiful by those who 
venture to judge wthout knowing the proportions of the 
ancient statues. Still greater differences e.^ist between the 
several races of mankind ; insomuch, that if we adopt for the 
model of beauty the standard of proportions discovered in the 
Greek statues, a great part of the human race wUl be cut off, by 
its very organization, from all chance of participating in this 
endowment. When, however, we find that Hottentots and 
American savages will outrun wild animals in the chase, will 
pursue and hunt down even deer ; that they will accomplish 
long journeys on foot over the most difficult countries, where 
there is no path to direct, and every obstacle to obstruct their 
progress ; tbat the effeminate Hindoos, as we frequently call 
them, will keep \vp with horses, and perform astonishing journeys 
in a short time ; that the South Sea Islanders amuse themselves 
for hours together by smmming about in the strongest surf, 
which would instantly destroy a boat or vessel ; we shall be 
obliged to allow that the form and proportions to which we are 
most accustomed are not essential to bodily vigour and flexibi- 
lity of movement. Our own inferiority in these respects arises, 
I am aware, from want of exercise, not from organic deficiency. 
CiviUzed man is ignorant of his own powers : he is not sensible 
how much he is weakened by effeminacy, nor to what extent he 
might recover his native force by habitual and vigorous exercise 
of his frame. 

The body is described as broad, square, and robust; the 
extremities short and nervous ; and the shoulders high in the 
Mongolian tribes, which entered Europe in the thirteenth cen- 
tury. See p. 239. 

" The Calmucks," says Pallas, " are often very strong 
about the neck, but slender and thin in the limbs. You hardly 
ever see corpulent persons among the common people ; even 
those who are rich and of higher rank, living in indolence and 
abundance, do not become immoderately large ; while, on the 
contrary, numerous fat and unwieldly individuals are seen 


among the Kirgises, and other Tataric pastoral tribes, who follow 
exactly the same mode of life." * 

Blumenbach possesses the entire skeleton of a Don Cos- 
sack, whose head, as exhibited in the fourth plate of his First 
Decade, is marked with the character of the Mongolian variety. 
The broad and flat face, the harsh muscular impressions and 
irregular outUnes of this skull, and the construction of the 
skeleton in general, correspond to the character which this race 
bears for strength and hardiness, and to the alarms which they 
generally create as enemies. 

" Habitus in totum horridus. Orbitae maxime profundag et 
latae, sed valde depressse. Narium apertura late patula." 
" Limbus plani semicircularis ubi a processu orbitaU externo 
ossis frontis sursum vergit, in acutum quasi jugum abiens ; 
anguli alarum maxillae inferioris fere monstrose extrorsum 
tractae, et masseterum insertione valde inaequales et quasi his- 
pidi. Crassities ossi occipitalis prope protuberantias enormis. 
Sed et textura ossium calvariae tam densa, ut hinc illinc casu 
detritae marmoris durissimi aut iaspidis politi in modum niteant. 
Hinc et pondus universi cranii ingens. Verum et reliqui sceleti 
partes capitis horridse conformationi respondent. Cylindrica 
V. c. ossa 2)raeter modum crassa et ponderosa. Pectoris os qua- 
tuor fere digitos transversos latitudine aequans, et quae sunt 
hujus generis alia, rude robur testantia." 

Mr. RoLLiN, the surgeon who sailed with La Perouse, has 
given us the measurements of the Chinese whom he saw at the 
Bale de Castries, on the east coast of China, in about 52° N. 
lat. and 141° E. long. ; and also those of the natives of the oppo- 
site great island of Tchoka, or Saghalien. 







Ft. In. Lines 

Ordinary stature 


4 10 

Circumference of the head . 




1 9 

Long diameter of the head . 




Short diameter of the head . 



5 4 

Length of upper extremity . 




2 1 

Length of lower extremity . 



2 6 

Length of foot 




Circumference of the chest 




Breadth of the chest . 





* Sammlungen hist, nach iiher die 1 


. Volkersch. 

1 Th. ]). 08. 












MEN. TCHOKA. „.„ ,_„ 


Ft. In. Lines. Ft. In. Lines. 

Circumference of the pelvis . .260 230 

Height of the vertebral column . 1 11 1 10 


Circumference of the pelvis . ■ 2 21 0* 

The measures are French ; of which the foot is to that of 
England as 1.066 to 1.000. 

The trunk is more slender in the Negro ; particularly about 
the loins and pelvis : the dimensions of the latter cavity are con- 
siderably smaller than in the European, and the extremities in 
some instances longer. I found the following proportions in a 
full-grown African lad of seventeen. 

Length of the body (lying dead on a table) 

Length of the upper extremity 

Length of the lower extremity 

Breadth from shoulder to shoulder . 

Circumference of the pelvis, between the crista ilii and 

the great trochanter . . . . . . 2 1^ 

Breadth between the anterior superior spines of the 

ossa innominata ....... 8 

The two latter measurements, in an Englishman of 5 feet 9 
inches, were respectively 2 feet 11 inches, and lOh inches. 

In a Negro skeleton of 5 feet 7j inches, the measurement 
between the anterior superior spines was 8i inches. 

SoEMMERRiNG gives the follo\ving statement of compai'ative 

" In my skeleton of a Negro, about twenty years old, 
the great diameter of the pelvis is . . . 
the small ...... 

In another of fourteen years the great diameter is . 
the small ...... 

In an European of sixteen years the great diameter is 
the small ...... 

In an old well-made European, inferior in stature to the 
negro of twenty years, the great .... 

the small ...... 

Camper t states that the great diameter of the pelvis, from 

* Perouse, Voyage Round the World; v. iii. p. 247. 

+ Tramactionsof the Dutch Sudety at Rotterdam, i'o.'; v. i. 




















one OS innominatum to the other, was to the small diameter, 
from the sacrum to the symphysis pubis, in the 

Negi-o as . . . 39 to 27* 

European . . . 41 27 

Yet the Negro was much taller than the European. 

The proportion in another European was as 

In Albinus's male skeleton 

In a female European skeleton 

In two others 

In the Farnese Hercules 

In the Antinous 

In the Apollo 

according to Albert Durer 
Venus de Medici 

The same slenderness of the trunk may be observed in some 
of the Indians ; it is at least apparent in the Lascars, who come 
to this country in the East India ships. Their legs also are 
long. There are no actual measurements of these. 

Mr. RoLLiN, to whom I have already referred, ascertained 
the proportions of the body in males and females at three dif- 
ferent points on the western coast of the American continent. 
The following are the results in French measures. f 

• Fun der Riirp. Verschied. pp. 34, 35. t Perouse's Voyage, v. iii. p. 22'> 

44 to 























o ^ 


k<^' \ 



S So 




i J. 




.c Si 














J 3 

Common stature 








Long diameter of the head, 

from tire superior angle 

of the occiput to the chin 




9 5 

Short ditto ; from the cen- 

tre of one parietal bone 

to the other . 




5 6 

Upper extremity; from the 

head of the humerus to 

the end of the middle 

finger .... 








2 3 

Lower ditto ; from the head 

of the femur to the heel 






10 5 

Length of the foot . 




10 6 

Breadth of the chest be- 

tween the shoulders 





1 4 

Breadth of the shoulders 







7 5 

Height of the vertebral co- 

lumn from the first ver- 

tebra to the sacrum 







Circumference of the pelvis 








7 5 


Long diameter of the head 




8 10 

Short diameter of the head 





5 5 

Length of the upper extre- 

mity .... 






1 6 

Length of the lower extre- 

mity .... 







6 8 

Length of the foot . 




8 9 

Breadth of the chest 





11 3 

Breadth of the shoulders 







3 3 

Height of the vertebral co- 

lumn .... 







8 9 

(circumference of the pelvis 






6 9 

Breadth between the ante- 

rior superior spinous pro- 

cesses .... 




8 10 


The fine forms, the uncommon symmetry, the great strength 
and activity of many trihes in the South Sea Islands, have been 
noticed by all who have had intercourse with them.* The 
attention of Langsdorff was particularly attracted by a youth 
named Mufau, twenty years of age, whom he saw at Nukahi- 
wah, one of the Marquesas Islands. His height was 6 feet 2 
inches (Paris measure — between 6 feet 7 and 8 English) ; his 
figure and strength perfect : the following are the measures in 
French feet and inches, of various parts of his body ; from 
which those who are conversant with academic proportions will 
be able to decide whether his frame was rightly constructed 
or not. 

From the point of the shoulder to the tip of the 

longest finger ...... 

From the top of the skull to the chin . 

From the top of the skull to the navel . 

From the navel to the division of the thighs . 

From the division of the thighs to the sole of the 

Length of the foot 

Greatest breadth of ditto 

Breadth across the shoulders 

Circumference at the same part 

Breadth across the breast 

Circumference of the breast 

Circumference of the head round the forehead and 

above the ears 
Circumference of the abdomen about the spleen 
Circumference of the pelvis at the hip . 
Circumference of the upper part of the thigh 
Circumference of the calf .... 
Circumference of the ankle at its smallest part 
Circumference of the upper part of the arm . 
Circumference of the lower ditto . 
Circumference of the hand .... 
Circumference of the neck 

e In. Lines. 






foot 38 




















' The people of the Marquesas and Washington Islands excel in 1 
alanty of features, and in colour, all the oi 

I beauty and 
grandeur of form, in regularity of features, and in colour, all the other South 
Sea Islanders. The men are almost all tall, robust, and well made. Few were 
so fat and unwieldy as the Otaheiteans, none so lean and meagre as the people 
of Easter Island. We did not see a single crippled or deformed person, but 
such general beauty and regularity of fomns, that it greatly excited our astonish- 
ment. Many of them might very well have been placed by the side of the 
most celebrated chef d'oeuvres of antiquity, and they would have lost nothing 
bj- the comparison." Langsdorfl's Voyages and Travels in various Parts of the 
fVorld; v. i. p. 108. 
T Voyages and Travels in various Parts of the World, p. 109. "We were 

N 3 


The natives of New Holland* and Van Diemen's Land f are 
small in stature, with long and slender limbs ; which seems to 
be owing in part to the bad quality and deficient quantity of 
their food (see p. 135). It is always of the least nutritious 
kind, and scarce ; and this scarcity is often aggravated to actual 
famine, under which the miserable natives are reduced to the 
appearance of spectres, t and probably often perish from inanition. 

With these differences in stature and proportions we may 
reasonably expect to find various degrees of bodily strength 
combined. The Spaniards, in their first intercourse with the 
new world, found the natives in general much feebler than 
themselves ; and the inability of the former to sustain the severe 
labour of the mines led to the introduction of African slaves, 
one of whom was equal to three or four Indians. § In engage- 
ments between troop and troop, or man and man, the Virgi- 
nians and Kentuckians have always shown themselves stronger 
than the American savages. || Hearne, Mackenzie, Pe- 
RousE, Lewis, Clarke, and others, have found the same 
inferiority of physical force in various parts of the North Ame- 
rican continent 

The testimony of Pallas respecting the Mongolian tribe of 
the Burats is very remarkable : " Their appearance is generally 
effeminate, and they are mostly so small in stature and weak, 
that five or six Burats are often unable to effect what a single 
Russian can accomplish. This want of power is not the only 
circumstance which proves, in the Burats and other Siberian 
nomadic people, that a mere animal diet is unnatural, and inca- 
pable of maintaining in perfection the physical prerogatives of 
our species. The bodies in all these people are remarkably light 

told," says Langsdorff, " that the chief of a neighbouring island, by name 
Upoa, with equally exact proportions as Mufau, was a head taller, so at least 
Roberts and Cabri both assured us : if they were correct, this man must be 
nearly seven Paris feet high." The vigour and activity of Mufau seem to 
have been equal to his stature ; " though he had never, till now, been on board 
an European ship, he ran up the mainmast many times together of his own 
accord, and throw himself from it« into the sea, to the great astonishment of 
the spectators. He had actually gone up one day with the intention of throw- 
ing himself from the topmost gallery ; but Captain Krusenstern called him 
iDack, and would not peimitit. It was impossible to see, without equal shudder- 
ing and astonishment, how he would spring from such an height, and balance 
himself in the air for some seconds, with his feet dawn up against his body, 
so as to keep his head up ; from the force of the fall, and the great weight of 
his body, be came with so violent a plunge into the water, that several seconds 
elapsed before he appeared again on the surface. " P. 170. 

* Collins, Account of the English Colon;/, &c. p. .553. Peron, Voyage de 
DScouvertes ; t. i. tab. 20. + Cook, Voyage to the Pacific ; v. i. p, 96. 

t Collins, lib. cil. Peron, v. i. p. 463, et suiv. 

? Herrera, t)ec. i. Lib. ix. cap. 5. 

n Volney, Tableau des Etats-unis; t. i. p. 447. 


in comparison to their size. You can raise and hold up the chil- 
dren with one hand, when those of the Russian boors of the 
same age could only be hfted with both hands. Even adult 
Burats, compared to the Russians, are astonishingly light ; so 
that the horses, which are not indeed powerful, when tired by a 
Russian rider, recover themselves if a Burat takes his place."* 

In order to procure some exact comparative results on this 
point, Peron took with him on his voyage an instrument called 
a dynamometre, so constructed, as to indicate, on a dial-plate, 
the relative force individuals submitted to experiment. He 
directed his attention to the strength of the arms and of the 
loins, making trial with several individuals of each kind ; viz. 
twelve natives of Van Diemen's Land, seventeen of New Hol- 
land, fifty-six of the island of Timor, seventeen Frenchmen 
belonging to the expedition, and fourteen Englishmen in the 
colony of New South Wales. The following numbers express 
the mean result in each case ; but the details are all given in a 
tabular form in the original. 

1. Van Diemen's Land 

2. New Holland 

3. Timor 

4. French 

5. English 

The highest numbers in the first and second class were 
respectively, 60 and 62 ; the lowest in the English trials, 63, 
and the highest 83, for the strength of the arms. In the power 
of the loins, the highest among the New Hollanders was 13, the 
lowest of the English 12.7, and the highest 21.3. 

These results offer the best answer to the declamations on the 
degeneracy of civilized man. The attribute of superior physical 
strength, so boldly assumed by the eulogists of the savage 
state, has never been questioned or doubted. Although we 
have been consoled for this supposed inferiority by an enume- 
ration of the many precious benefits derived from cixilization, it 
has always been felt as a somewhat degrading disadvantage. 
Bodily strength is a concomitant of good health, which is pro- 
duced and supported by a regular supply of wholesome and 

• Sammlunnen histor. JVachricki, pp. 171, 178. 

t Peron, Voyage, t. i. chap. xx. p. 446, et suiv. ; t. ii. Ackiitions and Come- 
Horn, p. 460, et suiv. 


Of the Arms. 


of the Loins. 










nutritious food, and by active occupation. The industrious and 
well-fed middle classes of a civilized community may therefore 
be reasonably expected to surpass, in this endowment, the mise- 
rable savages, who are never well fed, and too frequently 
depressed by absolute want and aU other privations. 

In the first Section, Chap. V., I have pointed out a diffe- 
rence between the structure of the human subject, and that of 
the monkey, in the relative length of the arm and fore-arm. 
The latter is always the shortest in man ; while the two are 
equal in our near neighbours, or the fore-arm is even the 
longest. The Negro holds, in this respect, a middle place, 
about equidistant from Europeans and monkeys. " I mea- 
sured," says Mr. White, " the arms of about fifty Negroes, 
men, women, and children, born in very different climates, and 
found the lower arm longer than in Europeans, in proportion to 
the upper arm, and to the height of the body. The first Negro 
on the list is one in the Lunatic Hospital at Liverpool, his fore- 
arm measures 12f * inches, and his stature is only 5 feet 10^ 
inches. I have measured a great number of white people, from 
that size up to 6 feet 4^ inches, and among them one who was 
said to have the longest arms of any man in England, but none 
of them had a fore-arm equal to that of the black lunatic. 

" I have measured the arms of a great number of European 
skeletons, and have found that the os humeri or iipper arm- 
exceeds in length the ulna, which is the longer bone of the fore- 
arm, by 2 or 3 inches ; in none by less than 2, in one by not 
less than 3^ inches. In my Negro skeleton the os humeri is 
only li inch longer than the ulna. In Dr. Tyson's pigmy 
the OS humeri and ulna were of the same length ; and in my 
skeleton of a common monkey the ulna is f of an inch longer 
than the os humeri. "f 

Of a Negro skeleton in the very valuable collection of Mr. 
Langstaff, the entire height is 5 feet 7^ inches : the humerus 
measures 12f inches, the ulna 11-|. In the individual men- 
tioned at p. 255, the upper arm was 13 inches, the ulna llf. 

The comparative results of several measurements are placed 
in succession in the following list. 

' The ulna of the giant in the College Museum is only one inch longer than 
this See page 126. 

i- White on the Regular Gradation ; p, 52 and following. See also the tables, 
l>p. 45 and 46. 




Length of 

Lensth of 


-"^ — — ^ 

3s Humeri. 


An Englishman 














, Ditto 























Englishwoman . 









European male skeleton . 





Ditto .... 





A Negro at the Lunatic 

Hospital, Liverpool 





Another from Virginia 





Another from the Gold 

Coast . 





Another .... 




Negro skeleton . 





Another .... 





A Lascar .... 





Venus de Medici 




Tyson's chimpanse (Simia 

troglodytes) . 





Mr. Abel's orang-outang 





Camper's ditto 

less than 30 



Mr. White's monkey 






The legs of the Hindoos are said to be long, and those of tlie 
Mongolian nations short, as compared with those of our owm race. 

The ancients noticed that certain defects of form were very fre- 
quent in the legs of the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Negro slaves. 

SoEMMERRiNG obscrves, that in the Negro the bones of the 

leg seemed pushed outwards under the femoral condyles, so 

that the knees appear rather further apart, and the feet are 

directed outwards. This is the case in both his Negro skeletons, 

and in more than twelve living Negroes whom he examined.* 

It is seen in the cast of the Negro belonging to the College 

Museum. The tibia and fibula are more convex in front than 

in Europeans, f The calves of the legs are very high, so as to 

* Von cler korperl. versch. ? 42. 

+ Mr. White has represented the bones of the leg and foot of the Negro and 
European in a comparative view : On the Regular Gradation, pi. L 


encroach upon the hams. Tlie feet and hands, but particularly 
the former, are flat : the os calcis, instead of being arched, is 
continued in nearly a straight line Avith the other bones of the 
foot, which is remarkably broad. " Both hands and feet termi- 
nate in beautiful but very long, and therefore almost ape-like, 
fingers and toes ; and they had all sesamoid bones, which are 
certainly rare in Europeans."* " The only peculiarities," ob- 
serves WiNTERBOTTOM,t " which struck me in the black hand 
and foot, were the largeness of the latter, the thinness of the 
hand, and the flexibility of the fingers and toes." Unseemly 
thickness of the legs is not uncommon among the Negroes ; 
and the feet exhibit numerous chinks and fissures, which, as 
they occur principally in the soles, must probably be referred to 
the eflfect of the burning sands. In the sole of a healthy Negro, 
who died at Cassel, Blumenbach found the epidermis "mirum 
in modum crassa, rimosa, et in multifidas lamellas dehiscens."J 

Peculiarities of form are traceable, in some instances, to par- 
ticular practices. " The only and very common defect ob- 
servable among the Calmucks (says Pallas) is curvature of 
the thighs and legs, arising from their sitting, even in the 
cradle, on a kind of saddle in a riding attitude, and being accus- 
tomed to riding as soon as they are able to go alone."§ 

The curvature of the legs, which is found not only in the 
Negroes, but in the Hindoos,|| Americans,^ and in many othei 
cases, arises from the practice of squatting ; that is, of resting 
the body on the lower limbs, the ankles and knees being bent to 
the utmost. The weight of the trunk in this attitude, which is 
painful and indeed insupportable to those who are not accus- 
tomed to it, rests on the back of the leg : hence the form of tha 
calf is spoiled by it. 

• Soemmerring has represented the bones of the leg and foot of the Negro 
and European in a comparative view. 

+ Account of the Native Africans, v. ii. p. 257. 

X De g. h. var. nat. p. 246, note 6. ? Sammlungen, &c. Th. i. p. 98. 

II This curvature of the leg and deficiency of the calf are represented to me 
by that accomplished artist Mr. Daniel as the only faults in the Indian form ; 
which he describes as very far exceeding that of Europeans in elegance and 
fine proportions. 

IT Chanvalon , Voyage a la Martinique, p. 58. In the Pescherais of Tierra del 
Fuego, Forster observes that the lower limbs are by no means proportioned 
to the upper parts ; that the thighs are thin and lean, the legs bent, the knees 
large, and the toes turned inwards. Ohs. made on a Voyage Round the fVorld, 
p. 85i. Cook describes the natives of Nootka Sound as having small, ill-made, 
and crooked limbs, with large feet badly shaped, and projecting ankles. He 
ascribes these circumstances to their sitting so much on their hams and knees. 
Voyage to the Pac/Jic, v. ii. p, 303. Lewis and Clarke found broad, thick, flat 
feet, thick ankles, and crooked legs, in the Western American tribes generally, 
They ascribe the latter deformity to the universal practice of squatting, or 
sitting on the calves of their legs and heels. Travels, ch. 23. 


Smallness of the hands and feet has been remarked by careful 
observers in many races. Thus it has been found, when the 
Hindoo sabres have been brought to England, that the gripe is 
too small for most European hands.* 

The Chinese were amused by the largeness and length of 
Mr. Abel's hands. He adds, " Those of all the Chinese, 
when compared to the hands of Europeans, are very small. 
When placed in mine, which are not excessively large, wrist 
against wrist, the ends of their fore-finger scarcely extended 
beyond the first joints of mine." t 

Mr. Chappell observes of the Esquimaux, that " the most 
surprising peculiarity of these people is the smallness of their 
hands and feet." X 

Humboldt says, that " the Chaymas, like almost all the 
native nations (of America) I have seen, have small slender 
hands." § 

Similar observations have been made respecting the New 
Hollanders and Hottentots. || 

I am not acquainted with any natural differences in the form 
or size of the ears, as characterizing the several races of men. 
It is well known that they stand off further from the head, and 
are in some degree moveable in savages ; also that the lobulus 
is enlarged and monstrously elongated by various artificial 
means in many instances. These practices may have given 
rise to the fables of some older writers concerning the enormous 
ears of certain people. 

In some instances a slit is made in the external ear, parallel to 
and near its circumference, and extending through almost its 
whole length. This is not only subservient to decoration by 
holding ornaments, but is also converted to the convenient 
purpose of receiving knives or other useful articles.*!! 

The Brasilians inserted gourds in the slits of their ears, 
increasing the size until the fist could be put through, and the 
ears reached the shoulders. When they prepare for battle, these 
ornamental appendages were fastened behind,** 

CoNDAMiNE and Ulloa saw the lobuli extended to four or 

• Hodges, Travels in India, p. 3. 

T Narrative of a Journey in the Interior of China, p. 91. 

t Aarrative of a Voyage to Hudson's Bay, p. 59. 

\ Personal Narrative, v. iii. p. 226. See also Ulloa, JVoticias Arriericaruu, 
V. ii. ; and Morse's American Geography, v. i. 

II Barrow's Southern Africa, v. i. p. 157. 

IT See Portrait of a New Zealander, in Hawkesworth's Collection of Voyages, 
V. iii. pi. 13. Also pi. 11 in the Atlas of Cook's Voyage to the Pacific, 

•• Souttey's History q/Brasil, v. i. pp. 135, 130, Cal, note 35. 


five inches in length, so as to touch the shoulders in many cases. 
The perforations were seventeen or eighteen lines in diameter. * 

Similar practices prevail extensively in the Asiatic and South 
Sea Islands, where persons are seen with the lobuli reaching the 
shoulders, and having slits large enough for the hand to pass.f 

I shall shortly mention here some other modes of ornamental 
bodily embellishment, which have been practised chiefly among 
tribes in a more or less rude state. The flattening of the fore- 
head, the dying and' filing of the teeth, have been already 
noticed; See Chapter IV. Sect. II. 

The operation of tattooing, or puncturing and staining the 
skin, has prevailed in various degrees in most parts of the 
world ; but it has been adopted most extensively and generally 
in the South Sea Islands, where it is considered as highly orna- 
mental. The art is carried to its greatest perfection in the 
Washington or New Marquesas Islands ; where wealthy and 
powerful individuals are often covered with various designs from 
head to foot. % The elegance and symmetry of the tattooed 
figures are as much admired by them, as those of dress are by 
us. We may pardon their simplicity in attaching so much value 
to the multiplicity and arrangement of these punctures, when 
we consider that those satisfactory tests of personal merit, the 
stars, ribbons, and orders, of which more civilized men are so 
justly proud, are not yet known to them. " For performing 
the operation, the artist uses the ^ang-bone of a tropic-bird, 
phaeton ethereus, which is rendered jagged and pointed at the 
end like a comb, sometimes in the form of a crescent, sometimes 
in a straight line, and larger or smaller according to the figures 
he designs to make. Tliis instrument is fixed into a bamboo 
handle about as thick as the finger, with which the puncturer, by 
means of another cane, strikes so gently and dexterously, that it 
scarcely pierces through the skin. The principal strokes of the 
figures to be tattooed are first sketched upon the body with the 
same dye that is afterwards rubbed into the punctures, to serve 
as guides in the use of the instrument. The punctures being 

* Memoires de VAcad. des Sciences; 1745, p. 433. Travels in South America, 
V. i. p. 395. A similar account is given by Adair, Hist, of the North American 
Indians, p. 171. 

t Forster, 06s. ore a Voyage Round the JVorld, p. 592. A man at Tanna wore 
thirteen ear-rings of turtle-shell, an inch in diameter and three quarters of an 
inch broad. Cook's Voy. towards the South Pole, v. i. p. 290, pi. 40, 47, man 
and woman of Easter Island, with elongated lobuli. 

t LangsdorfTs Foyages and Travels, &c. v. i. chap. 5. The designs, which 
are symmetrically arranged, and show no inconsiderable taste, are exhibited 
in two plates, at pp. 119 — 122. See also Hawkesworth's CoZZec<!ore, v. iii. pi. 13, 
for the tattooed head of a New Zealander. 


made so that the blood and lymph ooze through the orifice, a 
thick dye, composed of ashes from the kernel of the burning 
nut (aleurites triloba) mixed with water, is rubbed in. This 
occasions at first a slight degree of smarting and inflammation ; . 
it then heals, and, when the crust comes off after some days, the 
bluish or blackish blue figure appears." " When once the 
decorations are begun, some addition is constantly made to 
them at intervals of from three to six months, and this is not 
unfrequently continued for thirty or forty years before the 
whole tattooing is completed. We saw some old men of the 
higher ranks, who were punctured over and over to such a 
degree, that the outlines of each separate figure were scarcely to 
b« distinguished, and the body had an almost Negro-like appear- 
ance. This is, according to the general idea, the height of 
perfection in ornament, probably because the cost of it has been 
very great, and it therefore shows a person of superlative 
wealth." * 

The colour of the tattooed figures resides in the cutis or true 
skin ; the cuticle is not affected. Contrary to what we should 
have inferred, from the generally assumed principle of constant 
change in the component particles of animal bodies, these marks 
are indelible ; they are neither extinguished, nor rendered 
fainter by lapse of time, and can be got rid of only by excision. 

Another mode of ornamenting the skin, by means of raised 
cicatrices, is principally practised in Africa. Winterbottom 
informs us, that in the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone, it is pecu- 
har to the female sex ; " that it is used upon the back, breast, 
abdomen, and arms, forming a variety of figures upon the skin, 
which appears as if embossed. The figures intended to be 
represented are first drawn upon the skin with a piece of stick 
dipped in wood ashes, after which the line is divided by a sharp- 
pointed knife. The wound is then healed as quickly as possible, 
by washing it with an infusion of buUanta." " These incisions 
or marks are generally made during childhood, and are very 
common on the Gold Coast, where each nation has its peculiar 
mode of ornamenting themselves, so that by the disposition of 
the marks it is easy to know which country the person belongs 
to : for the most part the females possess the greatest number 
of these painful ornaments. "f 

In the recent voyage up the Congo, the embossed cicatrices 

* Langsdorff, pp. US— 120. 

T Jtccount of the Native Africans ; v. i. pp. lOG, 107. 


were found a very common ornament. Capt. Tuckey observed 
on entering the river, that " all the visitors, whether Christian 
or idolaters, had figures raised on their skins in cicatrices." * As 
he proceeded further, he found that " the cicatrices or orna- 
mental marks on the liodies of both men and women were much 
more raised than in the lower part of the river. The women in 
particular had their chest and belly below the navel embossed 
in a manner that must have cost them infinite pain."f 

The septum narium is sometimes perforated, and a piece of 
bone or wood worn in the aperture, often of considerable mag- 
nitude. But the most singular practice is that of the women on 
the north-west coast of America, who make a large horizontal 
sht in the lower lip, parallel to the opening of the lips, and 
penetrating into the mouth ; they wear in it ornaments of dif- 
ferent kinds, but generally oval pieces of wood a little concave 
on the two surfaces, and grooved at the edge. The smallest of 
these additional mouths, as described by Vancouver,^ was 
2^ inches long; the largest 3^ inches by l-h. Capt. Dixon 
brought home one of the lip ornaments, which measured 
3| inches by 2|. It was inlaid with a small pearly shell, and 
surrounded with a rim of copper."§ 

The natives of the neighbouring Fox Islands seem determined 
to unite all kinds of personal embellishment. " They make 
three incisions in the under lip ; they place in the middle one a 
flat bone, or a small coloured stone, and in each of the side ones 
a long pointed piece of bone, which bends and reaches almost to 
the ears. They likewise make a hole through the gristle of the 
nose, into which they put a small piece of bone, in such a man- 
ner as to keep the nostrils extended. They also pierce holes in 
the ears, and wear in them what little ornaments they can 
procure." II 

The barbarous Chinese custom of contracting the feet of 
women, and the great extent to which their irrational purpose 
is accomplished, are well known. While the Europeans were 
expressing their surprise at such an absurdity, and pitying the 

* Narrative of an Expedition, &c. pp. 80 — 124. 

T Ihid. pp. 182, 183. The custom is retained by the black Caribs in the West 
Indies ; Amic, in Journal de Physique, Aug. 1791. 

t Voyage, v. ii. p. 280. 

i Voyage, p. 208. Also pp. 172 — 186. Perouse, Voyage, v. ii. p. 139 and 
following;. Lanp;sdorfl"'s Voyages and Travels, v. ii. p. 115. The same practice 
exists in the archipelago between America and Kiimtschatka. Coxc'^ Account 
of the Russian Discorenes ; third ed. pp. 34, 35, 104, 138, 176, 197. 

II Coxe.pp. 176, 177. A similar custom prevailed among the BrasDians ; 
Southey, History of Brazil, v. i. p. 11. 


sufferers, they were constantly permitting under their own eyes 
the equally, if not more pernicious practice of tight stays ; by 
which I have seen the figure of the thorax completely and per- 
manently altered at its lower part.* 

When the male New Hollanders approach the age of puberty, 
they have one of the front incisors of the upper jaw knocked out, 
with a curious set of ceremonies described and delineated by 
Mr. Collins. t The women of these people, and of some 
others, particularly in the South Sea, are often seen to have 
lost one or two joints of the little finger. The exact nature and 
object of both these mutilations are not understood. 

Many travellers have spoken of the large and pendulous 
mammae of the females of certain barbarous tribes, particularly 
in Africa. There is no original difference in these cases ; the 
Hottentots and Negresses, previously to child-bearing, have 
bosoms as finely formed as any women ; but after this time the 
breasts become very loose and flaccid, so that they can turn 
them under or over the shoulder, and suckle their infants on 
their backs. This practice and that of long-continued suckling 
probably tend to increase the elongation. 

In speaking of the Shangallas, Bruce says that " after a few 
days, when the child has gathered strength, the mother carries 
it in the same cloth upon her back, and gives it suck with her 
breast, which she throws over her shoulder, this part being of 
such a length, as in some to reach almost to the knees. X 

Capt. TucKEY§ noticed the " pendent flaccidity of bosom" 
which belongs to the African women, and which is thought 
ornamental by the girls of the Zaire, or rather promoted by them 
as a token of womanhood. || 

Dr. SoMERViLLE^ says that the breasts of the Hottentot 
women, at the time of puberty, " become long, round and firm, 
the nipple scarcely projecting from the areola, which is more 
extensive than in other females. Soon after this period, and 
particularly during utero-gestation, the nipples increase, and do 
not again entirely shrink. After one or two births the breasts 

• These small waisted damsels are placed by Linneus among the monstrous 
varieties of our species ; "junceae puellse, abdomine attenuate, Europeae." 

+ Account of the English Colony, &c. Appendix; with eight illustrative 

t Travels to the Source of ike Nile ; second ed. v. iv. p. 35. 

5 Ex2)edilion to explore, &c. pp. 18 — 124. 

II "Au Sfnfgal les jeuncs lilies font leurs efforts pour faire tomber leur 

forge afln qu'on les croye femmes, et qu'on les respecte d'avantage." 
,amiral, VAfrique, p. 45. 
U Medico-chirurgical Transactions, v. vii. p. 157. 


are flaccid, wrinkled, and pendulous, hanging down sometimes 
to the groins, like hags suspended from the neck." 

When the Hottentot Venus was stripped naked, " the breasts, 
which she used to raise and confine by her dress, showed their 
large pendent masses, terminated by black areolae of more than 
four inches in breadth, and marked by radiated wrinkles." * 

Mr. Barrow, in speaking of the Namaaqua Hottentots, says 
that " the breasts are disgustingly large and ])endent : the usual 
way of giving suck, when the child is carried on the back, is by 
throwing the breast over the shoulder, f 

Ulloa X observed the Negresses in South America carried 
their children on their backs, and passing the breasts to them 
for suckling under the arm or over the shoulder. 

This fact is reported by numerous and respectable travellers, 
and has been confirmed to me so positively, both in the Negro and 
Hottentot races, by eye-witnesses, that I am surprised to find it 
contradicted by Dr. Winterbottom, who says, " I never saw 
an instance where women could suckle their children upon their 
backs, by throwing their breasts over their shoulders ; and it 
may be affirmed that such a circumstance would occasion as 
much astonishment on the western coast of Africa as it would 
in Europe. "§ 

This assertion is rather more general than could be warranted 
by the author's experience, which seems to have been prin- 
cipally confined to the Nova Scotia Negroes, settled in Free- 
town, Sierra Leone. We can only infer from it, therefore, that 
the fulness and elongation of the breasts are not universal in 
the African race. 

Some of the accounts, indeed, bear an evident air of exagge- 
ration; Bruce's expressions are rather strong; but what are 
we to think of the assertion that tobacco-pouches manufactured 
from the breasts of the Hottentot females are sold in great 
numbers at the Cape of Good Hope ? || 

On the other hand, similar conformations have been occa- 
sionally noticed in some European countries. " I saw," says 
LiTHGOW, " in Ireland's north parts, women travayling the 
way or toyling at home, carry their infants about their neckes, 
and laying the dugges over their shoulders, would give sucke 

* Cuvier, in Memoires du Museum d'Hisi. nat. t. iii. p. 26.5. 

+ Travels in the hiterior of Southern Africa, v. i. p. 390. 

X Travels in South America, v. i. p. 33. 

\ Account qf the Native Africans, v. ii. p. 264. 

II '^lei\\.ze\ Beschreibung des P'orgebirges der guten Hoffnung; t. ii. p. 564. 


to the babes behind their backes, without taking them in their 
armes : such kind of breasts, ine thinketh, were very fit to be 
made money-bags for East or West India merchants, being 
more than halfe a yard long, and as well wrought as any tanner 
in the like charge, could ever mollifie such leather."* 

A large size of the breasts has been observed in the Morla- 
chian women by Fortis ; and is alluded to by Juvenal as a 
well-known circumstance, in speaking of the Egyptians 
" In Meroe crasso rnajorem infante papillani." 

The Portuguese women of modern days are said to be remark- 
able in the same way ; while the Spaniards, in the last century 
at least, took pains to compress these parts, in order to prevent 
too great a luxuriance. 

To the disgrace of London, even in this pious age of societies 
for suppressing vice and distributing Bibles, a philosophic 
foreigner has found in her streets a proof of the effects of too 
early venereal excitement in enlarging the breast ; and has com- 
memorated the fact in a classical work, which must convey the 
scandal over the whole learned Avorld. " Contraria cura ambi- 
tum mammarum augeri posse nullum dubium est ; quantum 
vero praeterea Venus quoque praematura eo conferre possit me- 
morabili sane exemplo impuberes et nondum adultse pueUae 
mercenarise docent, quae Londinum, praesertim ex vicinis maxime 
suburbiis confluunt, et quaestum corpore facientes ingenti 
numero plateas noctu pervagantur."t 

There are no essential differences in the organs of genera- 
tion ; their construction and functions are the same in the 
various races of mankind. The Negroes, indeed, have gene- 
rally been celebrated for the size of a principal member of this 
apparatus. " Nigritas mentulatiores esse vulgo ferter. Res- 
pondet sane huic asserto insignis apparatus genitalium iEthiopis, 
quem in supellectili et mea anatomica servo. Num vero con- 
stans sit haec praerogativa et nationi propria, nescio."J Two 
specimens in the College Museum strongly confirm the common 
opinion, which is also corroborated by Mr. White, § both from 
dissection and observation of living Negroes. He mentions an 
instance where the part in question was found on dissection to 
be twelve inches long. In the living and dead Negroes whom 
I have seen, there has been no deviation in size from the Euro- 
pean formation ; but I have never injected the part. 

• Rare Adventures and painefull Peregrinations, p. 433. 

+ Blumenbach, Dc g. h. var. nat. sect. iii. i 67. X Ibid. p. 240. 

J On the Regular Gradation, p. 61. 


Mr. White observes that many Negroes have no frsenum 
praeputii ; and that in others it is small and imperfect.* 

It has been supposed that the Hottentot women have some- 
thing peculiar in this part of their organization ; that they are 
distinguished from all other daughters of Eve by being furnished 
with a natural fig-leaf of skin, produced from the lower and 
front part of the abdomen, and covering the sinus pudoris. It 
has been called a natural apron (tablier, Fr. ; ventrale cutaneum ; 
schiirze, Germ.). Although the native country of these females 
has been so much visited by Europeans from all quarters for 
a long series of years, and the structure, according to ordinary 
descriptions, must be very recognisable, there is a singular dis- 
cordance among travellers concerning this interesting point in 
natural history. Some affirm, others altogether deny its exist- 
ence ; and of the former, hardly any two agree in the precise 
nature of the peculiarity, some referring it to the labia, some to 
the nymphae, others to a peculiar organization ; some deeming 
it natural, others artificial. 

This discordance is accounted for in great measure by two 
circumstances. First, that the peculiar organization is not 
visible in the ordinary attitude of the body, being concealed 
between the thighs ;f and, secondly, that it is confined to a 
particular tribe. It does not exist in the Negroes, where the 
female organs of generation differ from the Europeans only in 
colour, the KafFers, the Booshuanas, at least not in a conspi- 
cuous degree, or in the Hottentots generally ; but it belongs to 
that particular tribe of Hottentots who are called Bosjesmen, or 

This name is equivalent to Bushmen, was given by the Dutch 
to a diminutive race strongly resembling the Hottentots in 
general formation. They are wild and fugitive beings, fre- 
quently engaged in rapine and plunder, and retiring for security 
into deserts and thickets ; whence their name seems to have been 
derived. | Perpetual warfare existed between these Bushmen 

• On the Regular Gtradation, p. 62. Tyson states that the chimpans^ had no 
fra;num ; Anat. of a Piginie, p. 45. The exact structure of this part is not 
mentioned by Camper. 

+ The Hottentot Venus displayed her charms to tlie French savans at the 
Jardin du Roi, where " she had the complaisance to undress herself, that she 
might be drawn naked." " On this occasion the most remarkable peculiarity of 
Ver formation was not observed ; she kept her ' tablier' carefully concealed, 
either between her thighs, or still more deeply, and it was not known, till after 
death, that she possessed it." Cuvier, Meinoiresdu Muscmn: pp. 264, 265. 

t Cuvier says they were called Bushmen " parce qu'ils ont coutume de 
se faire des especes de nids dans des touffes de brnussailles." Where heheard 
of these human nests I cannot conjecture. Mr. Barrow simply states "that 
they are known in the colony by the name of Bosjesmans, or men of the bushes. 


and the Dutch, who hunted and destroyed them with as Uttle 
ceremony as the other wild game of the country. That they 
remained in the most savage state, and were very rarely seen in 
the Dutch colony, is easily understood from these circumstances. 

On the authority of Le Vaillant, * and of drawings com- 
municated to him by Sir Joseph Banks, BLUMENBAcnf 
describes the peculiarity to consist in an elongation of the labia, 
and represents it as produced by artificial means. More careful 
and accurate examinations, both in Africa and Europe, have 
proved most clearly that it resides in the nymphse, which acquire 
a length of some inches, and that the formation is natural. 

SoNNERAT had already represented the matter nearly cor- 
rectly. " Le tablier fabuleux qu'on prete a leurs femmes, et 
qu'on dit leur avoir ete donne par la nature, n'a point de realite ; 
11 est \Tai qu'on aperfoit dans certaines une excroissance des 
nymphes qui quelquefois pend de six pouces, mais c'est une 
phenomene particulier, dont on ne pent pas faire une regie 

" The well-kno^vn story," says Mr. Barrow, " of the Hot- 
tentot women possessing an unusal appendage to those parts 
that are seldom exposed to view, which belonged not to the sex 
in general, is perfectly true with regard to the Bosjesmans. 
The horde we had met \vith possessed it to a woman; and, 
without the least offence to modesty, there was no difficulty in 
satisfying curiosity. It appeared on examination to be an elon- 
gation of the nymphae or interior labia, more or less extended 
according to the age or habit of the person. In infancy it is 
just apparent, and in general may be said to increase in length 
with age. The longest that was measured somewhat exceeded 
five inches, which was in a subject of a middle age. Many were 
said to have them much longer. These protruded nymphae, 
collapsed and pendent, appear at first view to belong to the 
other sex. Their colour is that of livid blue, inchning to a red- 
dish tint, not unlike the excrescence on the beak of a turkey, 
which indeed may serve to convey a tolerable good idea of the 
whole appearance both as to colour, shape, and size. The 
interior lips or nymphae in European subjects which are corru- 
gated or plaited, lose entirely that part of their character, when 
brought out in the Hottentot, and become perfectly smooth. 

fi'om the concealfid manner in which they make their approaches to ki)l and 
to plunder." Travels in South JJ'rica, v. i. p. 234. 

• Voyage dans VInterieur d'.^frique, p. 371. t Deg.h. var. nat. sect. iii. \ 68. 

t Voyage dans les Indes Orienlales, t. ii. p. 93. 


Though in the latter state they may possess none of those stimu- 
lating qualities, for which some anatomists have supposed nature 
to have formed them, they have at least the advantage of serving 
as a protection against violence from the other sex, it seeming 
next to impossible for a man to cohabit with one of these women 
without her consent, or even assistance."* 

Mr. Barrow adds, that " the elongated nymphse are found 
m all Hottentot women, only they are shorter in those of the 
colony, seldom exceeding three inches, and in many subjects 
appearing merely as a projecting orifice, or an elliptical tube of 
an inch or less in length. In the bastaard (offspring of Euro- 
pean father and Hottentot mother) it ceases to appear."f He 
observes again, of the Namaaquas, that " they had the same 
conformation of certain parts of the body as the Bosjesraan 
women, and other Hottentots ; in a less degree, however, than 
is usual in the former, and more so than in those of the latter.";^ 

This account is fully confirmed by the accurate descriptions 
of Dr. SoMERViLLE,§ who speaks from ample opportunities of 
observation and dissection. He states that the mons veneris 
is less prominent than in Europeans ; and either destitute of 
hair or thinly covered by a small quantity of a soft woolly 
nature : that the labia are very small, insomuch that they seem 
sometimes to be almost deficient : that the loose, pendulous, 
and rugous growth, which hangs from the pedendum, is a 
double fold, and proved by the situation of the clitoris at the 
commissure of these folds, as well as by all other circumstances, 
to be the nymphge ; and that they descend in some cases five 
inches || below the margin of the labia. 

The description by Cuvier^ of the individual publicly exhi- 
bited in London and Paris, under the name of the Hottentot 
Venus, agrees entirely with Dr. Somerville's account. He 
found the labia small ; a single prominence descended between 
them towards the upper part ; it divided into two lateral por- 
tions, which passed along the sides of the vagina to the inferior 
angle of the labia. The whole length was about four inches. 

This formation often has ])een ascribed to artificial elongation 

* Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa, v. i. 27S, 279. 

+ md. 280, 281. t Ibid. 389. 

\ Medico-chirurgical Transactions, v. vii. p. 1.57. 

II In one of Blumenbach's drawings the length is 6i inches (Rhynland 
measure). Vaillant speaks of their reaching 9 inches. 

1 JHem du Museum, t. iii. p. 266. When I'eron visited the Cape of Good 
Hope, he turned his attention to tliis subject ; but his statements, as contained 
in the second volume of the Voyage des Decouvertes, &c. chap, xxxiv. published 
after his death, are quite erroneous. 


" The testimony of the people themselves," says Mr. Barrow, 
" who have no other idea, but that the whole human race is so 
formed, is sufficient to contradict such a supposition ; but many 
other proofs might be adduced to show that the assertion is 
without any foundation in truth. Numbers of Bosjesman 
women are now in the colony who were taken from their 
mothers when infants, and brought up by the farmers, who, 
from the day of their captivity, have never had any intercourse 
whatsoever with their countrymen, nor know, except from 
report, to what tribe or nation they belong ; yet all these have 
the same conformation of the parts naturally, and without any 
forced means." * 

Dr. SoMERViLLE observes, that if any practice of elongating 
the nymphse had existed among the Hottentots, it could not 
have escaped his knowledge ; that they do not wish to have 
them long, nor take any pains for that purpose. They, who 
have them longest, are not thought the more beautiful ; nor 
are those slighted, in whom they are short, f 

This extension of the nymphse in the Bosjesman and Hot- 
tentot females wiD. appear the less remarkable, when we con- 
sider that their size varies in Europeans ; that they often project 
beyond the labia, and are of an inconvenient length. A con- 
siderable development of these organs is more common in warm 
climates, and has been noticed in the Negroes, Moors, and 
Copts, among whom it has been the practice for females to be 
circumcised. I This point is even noticed by Pliny. When 
the Abyssinians were converted to Christianity in the sixteenth 
century, the Catholic missionaries thought fit to forbid circum- 
cision, deeming it a relic of Judaism. As the taste of the men 
had been formed on the old practice, they did not approve this 
innovation, and the Cathohc girls found that they should get 

• Travels, &c. pp. 279, 280. + Lib. cit. p. 158. 

% In the Appendix, No. 1, entitled " An Account of Circumcision as it is 
practised on the windward coast of Africa," to the second volume of his very 
interestincf account of the native Africans, Dr. Winterbottom informs us, that 
this operation is performed on the females as well as the males ; and that it is 
equally common to both sexes in many parts of Arabia, at Bagdad, Aleppo, 
and Surat, in Egypt, Abyssinia, and the neighouring countries. " Among the 
Mahommedan nations on this part of the coast (Sierra Leone), the operation 
consists in removing the nympha?, together with the prjeputium clitoridis, not 
the clitoris itself, as has been imagined." P. 239. Bruce, who gives a similar 
account of the circumcision, or, as he calls it, excision, practised in Abyssinia, 
refers the origin of the custom to a natural redundancy or excess of the parts, 
on which it is performed. Dr. Winterbottom, howev-er, asserts that on the 
windward coast of Africa there is no ph}sical reason fur it ; the redundancy 
mentioned by Bruce being more rarely met with in these countries than in 
Europe ; " and where the custom of circumcision is unknown, which is pro- 
bably over the greater part of the continent, no complaint is made on this 
head." P. 241, 



no husbands. In this dilemma the college of the Propaganda 
sent a surgeon from Rome to examine and report ; and, in 
consequence of his statement, the Pope authorized a renewal of 
the ancient custom. 

Although it is not immediately connected with the generative 
organs, I may mention here another striking peculiarity in the 
same women. I mean the vast masses of fat accumidated on 
their buttocks, and giving to them the appearance of extraor- 
dinary and unnatural appendages. 

" The great curvature of the spine inwards, and extended 
posteriors, are characteristic of the whole Hottentot race ; but 
in some of the small Bosjesmans they are carried to ^ most 
extravagant degree." — " The projection of the posterior part of 
the body in one subject, measured five inches and a half from a 
line touching the spine. This protuberance consisted of fat, 
and, when the woman walked, had the most ridiculous appear- 
ance imaginable, every step being accompanied with a quiver- 
ing and tremulous motion, as if two masses of jelly were 
attached behind."* 

Tlie vibration of these substances at every movement was 
very striking in the Hottentot Venus. They were quite soft to 
the feel. She measured more than eighteen inches (French) 
across the haunches ; and the projection of the hips exceeded 
six inches. 

Dr. SoMERViLLE fouud on dissection, that the size of the 
buttocks arose from a vast mass of fat interposed between the 
skin and muscles ; and that it equalled four fingers' breadth in 
thickness, t Cuvier| describes the protuberance to be pro- 
duced by a mass of fat, traversed in various directions by strong 
cellular threads, and easily removed from the glutei. The Hot- 
tentot Venus stated that this deposition of fat does not take 
place until the first pregnancy ; and this statement is confirmed 
by the testimony of Mr. Barrow. § 

It seems almost superfluous to add, that the sacrum and os 
coccygis have the same size, figure, and direction in these, as in 
other females ; that the latter bone is not turned backwards, 
much less prolonged into any resemblance or even approach to 
a tail. 

If the Negroes and Hottentots approximate in some points to 
the structure of the monkey kind, as they very certainly do, this 
particular of the elongated nymphse is rather an instance of the 

• Barrow, lib. cit. p. 281. + Lib. cit. p. ICO. t Ibid. p. 309. { Ibid. p. 158. 


opposite description. For the corresponding cutaneous folds 
are barely visible in the simife. Tlie tremulous masses of fat 
with whicli the glutei are loaded, constitute, on the contrary, 
according to Cuvier,* " a striking resemblance to those which 
appear in the female mandrills, baboons, &c. and which assume, 
at certain epochs of their life, a truly monstrous development." 

The most analogous animal structure, however, is that of the 
sheep, of which such vast and numerous flocks are reared by 
the pastoral tribes of Asia. In this variety, a large mass of fat 
covers the buttocks, occupying the place of the tail ; the protu- 
berance is smooth or naked below, and appears, when viewed 
behind, as a double hemisphere, the coccyx being just percep- 
tible to the touch in the notch between the two. It consists 
merely of fat, and fluctuates in walking when very large, like 
tlie buttocks of the Hottentots. The mass sometimes reaches 
the weight of thirty or forty pounds. PALLAS,t who has 
described this breed of sheep very well, calls it ovis steatopyga, 
or fat-buttocked sheep. 

The peculiarity is lost by crossing the breed with other sheep ; 
and it becomes considerably diminished, when the animals, being 
purchased by the Russians and conveyed to their towns, quit 
their native pastures, and change their mode of life. 

As this fat-buttocked sheep is universally held to be a mere 
variety, we cannot deem the analogous structure of the Bosjes- 
men and Hottentots to afford any adequate ground for referring 
those tribes of human beings to a distinct species. The deve- 
lopment of the nymphse, and the other varieties enumerated in 
this chapter, are merely analogous to the varieties observed in 
corresponding points among our domestic animals. 

The works of the older cosmographers, and even the narratives 
of comparatively recent travellers, make mention of human 
varieties much more remarkable than any which I have 
recounted. Such are the African Blemmyes or people without 
heads, the Arimaspi and Cyclops with one eye, the Monos- 
celi with one leg, the giants and pigmies, the Monorchides, the 
Anorchides, Triorchides, Hermaphrodites,^ the Cynocephah, 
Cynomolgi, &c. &c. which are spoken of by Herodotus, 

• Lib. cit. p. 268. 

T Spicilegia Zoulugica; fascie. xi. p. 63. et seq. There arc breeds of sheep 
in Persia, Syria, Pak'stine, and some parts of Africa, in which the tail is not 
deficient as "in the o\is steatopyga, but retains its usual length, and becomes 
loaded with fat. 

i I have considered this subject in the article Generation of Dr. Rees* 

O 2 


Pliny, Pomponius Mela, Ptolemy, and many others. The 
proverbial license assumed by travellers, their ignorance or dis- 
position to deceive, their carelessness in receiving or communi- 
cating facts, and the credulity and love of the marvellous in 
their readers, are all favourable to the production and diffusion 
of such stories. In proportion as distant regions become well 
known, such monstrosities disappear ; and the progress of 
natural knowledge will gradually consign all these marvellous 
tales to oblivion. The great mass of information, which we now 
possess concerning the animal creation in general, respecting 
the structure and functions in particular, and the 
various modifications in the principal races of the species, afford 
us critical rules, by which the truth or falsehood of any extraor- 
dinary narratives can be easily and certainly determined. We 
need not waste any more time on the fabulous varieties above 
alluded to, yet there is one, which has found believers even in 
our own times : I allude to the men with tails, who having been 
again and again spoken of by various authors, were defended and 
patronised not long ago by Lord Monboddo. Not to mention that 
the existence of a tail in man would be quite inconsistent with 
all the rest of his structure, and more particularly with all the 
arrangements both of the hard and soft parts composing or con- 
tained in the pelvis, we may observe that nearly all, who have 
spoken of the homines caudati, do so, not from their own 
observation, but from the reports or information of others. 
While, on the other hand, they who pretend to have had ocular 
testimony of the fact, mention it in such a manner, and with 
such circumstances, as obviously to destroy their own credit ; 
and they differ most widely from each other even when speaking 
of the same people.* Again, the most intelligent and accurate 
travellers, in describing the same people, either make no men- 
lion of the prodigy, or else characterize it as a pure fiction. 
Thus, instead of finding the existence of any race of men with 
tails authenticated by credible -witnesses, there is no example 
even of a single family displaying such an anomaly, although 

* These remarks are exemplified by Blumenbach in the statements which 
have been publisiied concerning the tails of the Formosans : Ve g. h. var. nat. 
sect. iii. ? 76. He also succeeded in tracing to its source the engraved repre- 
sentation of a man with a tail, and in proving that it was originally the figure 
of a monkey, transmitted from one autlior to another, and humanized a little 
at each step. Martini, in his version of Buft'on, took a plate from the Jlmainitaleg 
of Linneus; who took it from Aldrovanilus, who took it from Gesner, who 
took it from a German description of the Holy Land {Reyss in das Gelohte Land ; 
Mentz, 148()), in which it represents a quadrumanous monkey, which, with 
Other exotic animals, was seen in the journey. Thi« quadrumanous simia had 
been gradually transformed by those who successively copied the engravings* 
into a'human two-handed being. Ihid. note, p, 27L 


there are well-known instances of families wth six fingers on 
each hand. 

The consideration of monstrous productions belongs to 
pathology and physiology, rather than to the natural history of 
our species. I have given a description of them, with some 
remarks on their production, in the fifth volume of the Medico- 
chirurgical Transactions. 


Differences of Stature. — Origin and Transmission of Varieties in Form. 

No part of the natural history of man has been more confused 
and disgraced by fables and hyperbolical exaggeration than the 
present division. Not to mention the pigmies and giants of 
antiquity, the bones of different large animals ascribed to human 
subjects of immoderate stature, even by such men as Buffon, 
sufficiently prove our assertion. The accuracy of modern 
investigation has, however, so completely exposed the extrava- 
gance of such suppositions, that they do not require very detailed 

There is no fixed law determining invariably the human 
stature, although there is a standard, as in other species of ani- 
mals, from which the de\'iations, independently of disease or 
accident, are not very considerable in either direction. In the 
temperate climates of Europe the height of the human race 
varies from four feet and a half to six feet. Individuals of six 
feet and some inches are not uncommon in this and other Euro- 
pean countries. Occasional instances have been known, in 
various parts of the world, of men reaching the height of seven, 
eight, or even nine feet ; and ancient and even modern authors 
speak of theTiuman stature reaching ten, and even eighteen feet. 
The latter representations are grounded on large bones dug out 
of the earth. These, together with the common propensity to 
believe and report what is marvellous, and the notion that man- 
kind have undergone a physical as weU as moral degeneracy 
since their first formation, have led to a very common belief 
that the human stature in general is at this period less than it 
was in remote ages.* We are warranted in suspecting the 

• The notion of diminished stature and strength seems to have been just as 
prevalent in ancient times as at present. Pliny observes of the human hei"-ht, 
"cunto mortalium generi minorem indies fieri:" vii. 16. A most alarmin"' 

Srospect, if it had been well founded. Homer more than ont-e makes a very 
isparaging comparison of his own degenerate cotemporaries to the powerful 
heroes of the Trojan war. 


accounts of such great elevation above the ordinary stature in 
the human species, by observing that nature, within the tune of 
which we have any authentic records, exhibits no such dispro- 
portions in other species. We find, too, that the height of these 
giants is reduced, as we approach modern times, to what we 
have opportunities of observing now : so that we may probably 
affirm, that no sufficiently authenticated example can be 
adduced of a man higher than eight or nine feet. 

The large bones, on which the notions about giants have been 
in many instances founded, have been discovered, by the accu- 
rate examinations of modern science, to belong to extinct 
species of animals of the elephant and other allied kinds. Of 
the loose and unphilosophical manner in which these matters 
have generally been inquired into, we have a specimen in the 
supposed bones of a barbarian king. Habicot, an anatomist 
of some celebrity, in a work entitled Gigantosteologia, describes 
some huge bones, found near the ruins of the castle of Chau- 
mont in Dauphiny, in a sepulchre, over which was a gray stone 
inscribed Teutobocchus Rex. This skeleton, he says, was 
twenty-five feet and a half high, and ten feet broad at the shoulders. 
RioLAN, in his Gi(janiotnachia, disputes this measurement, and 
affirms that the bones belong to the elephant. In the long coil- 
troversy which ensued, it never occurred to either of the learned 
disputants to describe or represent the bones exactly. It is 
surprising that Buffon should have figured and described the 
fossil bones of large animals as remains of human giants, in the 
supplement * of his classical work. Together, with others, he 
mentions those dug up at Lucerne in the sixteenth century, 
and still preserved there. Blumenbach found these, on 
the first view, to be elephants' bones. Felix Plater, an 
excellent physician and anatomist of his time, after carefully 
examining and measuring these bones, declared that they 
belonged to a human giant of seventeen feet, and had a draw- 
ing made of the skeleton, according to his opinion of its di- 
mensions; which drawing is still preserved in the Jesuits' 
College at Lucerne. f 

That men in general were taller in the early ages of the 
world than at present, or that examples of very tall men wer© 
then more frequent than now, has been asserted without any 
proof. The remains of human bones, and particularly the 
teeth, which are unchanged in the most ancient urns and burial- 
l)laces, the mummies, and the sarcophagus of the great pyramid 

* Tom. V. •* JJo £'. /(. var. nal. p. 851. 


of Egypt, demonstrate tins point clearly ; and every fact which 
we can collect, from ancient works of art, from armour, as 
helmets and breast-plates, or from buildings designed for the 
abode and accommodation of men, concurs in strengthening 
the proof. Blumenbach has the skull and bones of an old 
person, taken out of a burial-place of the most remote antiquity 
in Denmark (ex antiquissimo tumulo Cimbrico), and correspond- 
ing in size to the modern standard. That we cannot have dege- 
nerated in consequence of the habits of ci\alized society, is clear, 
because the individuals of nations living in a way so different 
from us as the native Americans, Africans, and South Sea 
Islanders, &c. do not e.xceed us in stature. Indeed, it has been 
generally observed of these races that they are shorter than the 

In mentioning individuals who have exceeded the ordinary 
height, it is necessary to confine ourselves, in order to avoid 
what may be fabulous or exaggerated, to instances in our own 
times. One of the King of Prussia's gigantic guards, a Swede, 
measured 8^ feet ; and a yeoman of the Duke John Frederic, 
at Brunswick Hanover, was of the same height. Gilly, who 
was exhibited as a show, measured 8 feet (Swedish).* J. H. 
Reichardt, of Friedberg near Frankfort, was 8 feet 3 inches : 
his father and sister were both gigantic.f Several Irishmen, 
measuring from 7 to 8 feet and upwards, have been exhibited 
in this country. The indi^ddual whose skeleton is in the Col- 
lege Museum was 8 feet 4 inches. 

A female of Stargard, named La Pierre, was 7 feet (Danish).^ 

Martin Salmeron, a Mexican giant, the son of a Mestizo 
by an Indian woman, measures 7 feet 3^ inches, and is well 

Bebe, the dwarf of Stanislaus, King of Poland, was 33 
inches (French), and well-proportioned. His spine became 
curved as he approached manhood ; he grew weak, and died at 

The Polish nobleman, Borwlaski, who was well-made, 
clever, and skilled in languages, measured 28 Paris inches. 
He had a brother of 34 inches, and a sister of 21.'^ 

A Friesland peasant at twenty-six years of age had reached 

* Mhandl. der kbnigl. Schwcd. Akademie ; 17G5, p. 319. 

+ Ludwig, Naturs^eschichle dr Menschen-Species, p. lol. 

X Ibid. See also Hallor, Elem. Physiol, lib. xxx. sect. i. ? 17. 

? Hunjbdldt's Polilical Essay, book ii. clia]). 6. 

II Huftbii, Hut. 7ui(. t. XV. p! 176. 

Ii Memoirs of the celebrated Dwarf, Jos, Borwlaski, &c. Lond. 1788. 


29 Amsterdam inches. C. H. Stoberix, of Nuremberg, was 
nearly 3 feet high at twenty, well-proportioned, and possessed 
of talents. Her parents, brothers, and sisters, were dwarfs.* 

Of numerous other instances on record, most seem to have 
been diseased, and particularly rickety individuals ; so that they 
may be classed among pathological phenomena. The men who 
have considerably exceeded the ordinary standard, have neither 
possessed those proportions in their form which we account 
elegant, nor has their strength by any means corresponded to 
their size. The head, in these cases, is below the ratio which it 
should bear to the body, according to what we deduce from men 
of ordinary stature; hence the brain must be comparatively 
smaller. It is a general observation, that very large men are 
seldom distinguished by extent or force of mental power. The 
dwarfs, again, are mostly ill-made ; the head in particular, is too 
large. There are very few instances of what we can deem healthy 
well-made men, with all the proper attributes of the race, much 
below the general standard. 

Some varieties of the human race exceed, and others fall 
short of the ordinary stature in a small degree. The source of 
these deviations is in the breed ; they are quite independent of 
external influences. In all the five human varieties some tribes 
and nations are conspicuous for height and strength ; others 
for lower stature, and inferior muscular power. But in no case 
is the peculiarity, whether of tallness or shortness, confined to 
any particular temperature, climate, situation, or mode of hfe. 

In the Caucasian variety, there are no strongly-marked devia- 
tions from the ordinary standard, in either direction. Some 
parts of Sweden and Smtzerland, the mountains of the Tyrol 
and Salzburg, are rather distinguished for the tallness of their 
inhabitants ; while the Finnish race in the north of Europe may 
be short in the same proportion. 

The ancient Germans were remarked for their great stature ; 
" magna corpora" is the expression of Tacitus, which is also 
corroborated by the testimony of C^sar. Large bodies and 
limbs, as well as undaunted courage, are the attributes assigned 
to them by Pomponius Mela; " immanes animis et corpori- 
bus." We have no data for determining their precise stature ; 
there is, however, no proof that it exceeded the tallest of the 
present German races, so that some of their finest and most 

• Lavater's Physiognoni. Fragment, iv. p. 73. Ludwig, Js^aturgeschichte, &c. 
p. 154. 


robust men may have somewhat exceeded six feet. Modern 
Saxony and the Tyrol could probably furnish an equal propor- 
tion of such individuals. 

The inhabitants of America exhibit more conspicuous exam- 
ples both of tall and short races. Ulloa oliserves of the 
Peruvians, that men and women are generally low, but well- 
proportioned.* Cook calls the Pecherais of Tierra del Fuego 
" a little, ugly, half-starved race ;" and adds, " I did not see a 
tall person among them."t The Western American tribes of 
Nootxa Sound, near the Columbia, and further north, are de- 
scribed by Cook, X Lewis, and Clarke, § as low in stature. 

" The Chaymas of South America," says Humboldt, " are 
in general short, and they appear so particularly when com- 
pared, I shall not say with their neighbours the Caribbees, or 
with the Payaguas or Guayquilits of Paraguay, equally remark- 
able for their stature, but with the ordinary natives of America. 
The common stature of a Chayma is 1.57 met. or 4 feet 10 
inches French (about 5 feet 2 inches English). Their body is 
thick-set, shoulders extremely broad, and breast flat. All their 
limbs are round and fleshy." || 

He adds, in a note, " that the ordinary stature of the Guay- 
quilits or Mbayas, who live between 20o and 22o south latitude, 
is, according to Azzara, 1.84 met. or 5 feet 8 inches French 
(6 feet I5 inch English). The Payaguas, equally tall, have given 
their name to Payaguay or Paraguay." The same accurate 
observer informs us, respecting the Caribbees of Cumana, that 
they are distinguished by their almost gigantic size from all 
the other nations he has seen in the new world.^F 

Among the native tribes in the cold regions north of Canada, 
Mr. Hearne ** saw individuals of 6 feet 3 and 4 inches. Mr 
Bartram found the Muscogulges and Cherokees of North Ame- 
rica, between 31o and 35o north latitude, taller than Europeans : 
many being above 6 feet, and few under 5 feet 8 or 10 inches, ft 

The Patagoniansjtl or, according to their indigenous name, 

♦ Voyage to South America, v. i. p. 2G7. 

+ Coolrs Voyage towards the South Pole; v. ii. p. 183. Also Forster, Obs. on 
a Voyage Round the World ; p. 250. 

t Voyage to the Pacific ; v. ii. pp. 301 — 366. 

\ Travels to the Source of the Missouri, ch. 23. 

II Personal Narrative, v. iii. pp. 222, 223. ^ Ihid. p. 286. 

•* Journey to the Frozen Ocean, p. 351, note. ++ Travels, p. 482. 

ii The name of Patagonians is said by Blutneubach to have been given to 
them by the Spaniards, because they deemed them allied to the neighbouring 
tribe of Chonos, and from their lower limbs being covered with guanaco skins, 
so as to resemble the hairy legs of animals, which are called in Spanish patas. 
De g. h, far. nai. p, 254. 

O 3 


the Teheuls, who occupy the south-eastern part of South Ame- 
rica, have been the most celebrated for their colossal stature ; 
and really seem to be the tallest race of human beings. Their 
height, however, has been exaggerated by some, while others 
have denied that it exceeded the ordinary standard. Piga- 
FETTA,* who accompanied Magalhaens on the first circum- 
na\dgation of the globe, gives them the height of eight Spanish 
feet (7 feet 4 inches English). Subsequently to this period, 
for two centuries and a lialf, the narratives of European travellers 
are so strangely contradictory and inconsistent with each other 
on the subject of these Patagonians, that they afford a lesson 
inculcating most strongly the necessity of caution and diffidence 
in employing such reports.f It is sufficient for the present 
purpose to represent what appears the probable state of the case, 
after weighing and critically considering the most unexception- 
able testimonies. 

Tlie Patagonians seem to be a tall but not gigantic race, and 
to possess a remarkably muscular frame. The only individuals 
ever seen in Europe were brought to Spain towards the end of 
the sixteenth century, and seen at Seville by the classical tra- 
veller Van Linschoten, who says they were well-formed and 
large in the body. The variety in the statements of diflferent 
travellers makes it difficult to assign any particular height ; but 
we are authorized in representing it as commonly reaching 
six feet, being often five or six inches higher, and sometimes 
even seven feet. 

Bougainville says that none were under 5 feet 6 inches, 
and none over 5 feet 1 1 inches : which, in English measure, 
are about 5 feet 11 and 6 feet 4^ inches. J Commerson, § 
however, who was with him, makes some of the highest G feet 4 
inches (6 feet 9-10 Eng.) Bougainville says that their broad 
shoulders, large head, and stout limbs made them appear like 

* Viagaio atorno il Mondo, in the collection of Ramusio, v. i. p. 353. 

+ The opposing testimonies of various Spanish, French, En;;lish, and Dutch 
navigators, who liave spoken of the Pata;4onians from the time of their being 
lirst noticed by Figafetta to the voyages in the last century, are brought 
together in the French Hisloircs des Navigations aux 2'erres Austral es ; and 
the statement may be seen in English in Dr. Hawkesworth's general intro- 
duction to the account of the voyages undertaken by order of His present 
Majesty, &c. 3 vols. 4to. 

X Vuy. autour du Munde,ito. ■^. 126. The ciew of the £to!7e had seen several 
in a preceding voyage 6 feet high (nearly 6 feet 5 English). Ibid. De la 
Giraudais represented the least of those he saw, in 17G6, as 5 feet 7 inches Fr, 
or more than 5 feet 11 inches English. Pernetty's Uht. of a Voyage to tne 
Falkland Islands, p. 288. The least of those seen by Duclos Guy ot were of tne 
same size ; the rest considerably taller. Ibid. p. 373. 

i Letter to Lalaude iu the Journal Encyi:lo}jedii{u<;, \t i2. 


giants. They were robust and well-made, with strong mus- 
cles, firm and compact flesh. 

Commodore Byron says of one who appeared to be the chief 
of the party, " I did not measure him ; but if I may judge of 
his height by tlie proportion of his stature to my own, it could 
not be much less than 7 feet." * An Englishman of 6 feet 2 
inches appeared among them as a pigmy among giants. They 
were large and nuiscular in proportion. f 

Captain Wallis measured several of them carefully : one of 
them was 6 feet 7 inches ; several were 6 feet 5 inches and 

6 feet 6 inches : but the statui'e of the greater part was from 
5 feet 10 inches to G feet. J Carteret's § statement coin- 
cides with this. 

Falkner, who lived some time in the country, describes the 
great Cacique Cangapol as seven feet some inches high. 
When standing on tip-toe, he could not reach to the top of his 
head. He did not recollect ever to have seen an Indian above 
an inch or two taller than Cangapol. || 

The stature of the Patagonians was measured with great 
accuracy by the Spanish officers in 1785, and 1786 : they found 
the common height to be 6^ to 7 feet ; and the highest was 

7 feet l^ inch.*[F 

Falkner says that this tribe, which he calls Puelches, live 
inland. When we consider this fact, and that their habits are 
wandering, we shall not be svu-prised that some of those who 
have visited the coast have not met with them ; but have found, 
instead of the tall Patagonians, Americans of ordinary stature 
belonging to the other neighbouring tribes. 

After surveying the tall and muscidar frames of the Patago- 
nians, Caribbees, Cherokees, and many other American tribes, 
what shall we think of the notion brought forward and de- 
fended by many learned men, including even a Buffon and a 
Robertson, that the new world is unfavourable to the formation 
and full development of animal existence ? The former writer 
asserts that the animals common to the old and new world 
are smaller in the latter ; that those peculiar to the new are all 
on a smaller scale ; that those which have been domesticated 

* Ilawkcswortli's Cullcction of Voyages, v. i. p. 28. 
T Ihid. p. 32. t Ibid. p. 374. 

I Philusophical Transactions, v. Ix. " We measured the height of many of 
these people : they were in general all from 6 feet to 6 feet 5 inches, although 
there were some who came to 6 feet 7 inches, but none above that." " Alto- 
gether they are the finest set of men I ever saw any where." pp. 23, 23. 

II Description of Patagonia. 

^ yiaje al Estrecho do Ma^alhaens ; Madrid, 1788, 4to. p. 333 et sei^. 


in both, have degenerated in America; and that, on the whole, 
it exhibits fewer species. He extends the same kind of asser- 
tion and reasoning to the human species, which he describes 
as dwarfish, puny, and weak in body, and destitute of all mental 
vigour, capacity and" talent.* All these representations are fully 
and clearly refuted by Mr. Jefferson, f who has displayed as 
much eloquence and sound reasoning in vindicating the savage 
nations of America from the aspersions of the great French 
naturalist, as he showed energy and perseverance in asserting 
the liberties of his own countrymen, wisdom and firmness in 
fulfilling the duties of their chief magistrate. In the following 
remarks he has brought forward the mammoth in opposition to 
those learned theories : the reasoning is equally applicable to 
the Patagonians, Caribs, and other tribes of powerful men, 
which, being in actual existence, afford a safer ground of con- 
clusion respecting the present capabilities of the climate, soil, and 
air of America, than those colossal remains of an extinct species, 
which may have belonged to a very different order of things. 

*' It (the mammoth) should have sufficed to rescue the earth 
it inhabited, and the atmosphere it breathed, from the imputa- 
tion of impotence in the conception and nourishment of animal 
life on a large scale ; to stifle in its birth the opinion of a writer, 
the most learned of all in the science of animal history, that in 
the new world living nature is much less active, much less 
energetic, than in the old. As if both sides of the globe were 
not warmed by the same genial sun ; as if a soil of the same 
chemical composition was less capable of elaboration into animal 
nutriment in America than in the ancient continent ; as if the 
fruits and grains from that soil and sun yielded a less rich chyle, 
gave less extension to the solids and fluids of the body, or pro- 
duced sooner in the cartilages, tnembranes, and fibres, that 
rigidity which restrains all further extension, and terminates 
animal growth. The truth is, that a pigmy and a Pantagonian, 
a mouse and a mammoth, derive their dimensions from the 
same nutritive juices ; the differences of increment depends on 
circumstances unsearchable to beings with our capacities. All 
races of animals seem to have received from their Maker cer- 
tain laws of extension at the time of their formation. Their 
elaborative organs were formed to produce this, while proper 
obstacles were opposed to all further progress. Below these 
limits they cannot fall, nor rise above them. What interme- 

* Jlistoire TuUurelle, t. xviii. pp. 100 — 156. + JVotes on Virginia, pp. 73 — 94. 


diate station they shall take, may depend on soil, climate, food, 
or selection in breeding : but all the manna of heaven would 
never raise the mouse to the bulk of the mammoth." 

Similar diflferences of stature to those which I have described 
in the American occur also in the Ethiopian variety. That of 
the Negroes in general does not differ essentially from our own. 
Tlae Hottentots at the southern extremity of the country are 
the smallest of the species in Africa. Tlie whole race is shorter 
than Europeans, yet not so invariably but that tall individuals 
sometimes occur. Thus Latrobe mentions one of 6 feet in 
height.* The Bosjesman tribe, however, are remarkably short, 
even among the Hottentots. Two individuals seen by LicH- 
TENSTEiN were scarcely four feet high, f Mr. Barrow says 
that " in their persons they are extremely diminutive. The 
tallest of the men (in horde or kraal containing one hundred 
and fifty individuals) measured only four feet nine inches, and 
the tallest woman four feet four inches. About four feet six 
inches is said to be the middle size of the men, and four feet 
that of the women. One of these that had several children 
measured only three feet nine inches." | 

To show how little the varieties of our species depend on 
climate, situation, or other external influences, we find the 
neighbouring tribe to the Hottentots, the KafFers, distinguished 
for height and strength. These qualities, however, are more 
conspicuous in the men than in the women, and the same 
remark holds good in other instances. Langsdorff was sur- 
prised at finding the Marquesan women deficient in those per- 
sonal qualities which were so remarkable in the men ; and could 
hardly suppose them to be the mothers of the very fine males 
whom he saw. " The Kaffer women were mostly of low sta- 
ture, very strong limbed, and particularly muscular in the leg ; 
but the good humour that constantly beamed upon their coun- 
tenances made ample amends for any defect in their persons. 
The men, on the contrary, were the finest figures I ever beheld : 
they were tall, robust, and muscular ; their habits of hfe had 
induced a firmness of carriage, and an openly manly manner, 
which, added to the good nature that overspread their features, 
showed them at once to be equally unconscious of fear, suspi- 
cion, and treachery. A young man about twenty, of 6 feet 10 
inches high, was one of the finest figures that perhaps was ever 

• Journal of a Visit to South Africa, ^a. p. 282. 

t Travels in Southern Africa, chap. vm. X Travels, p. 227. 


created. He was a perfect Hercules ; and a cast from his body 
would not have disgraced tlie pedestal of that deity in the 
Farnese palace." * 

He states in another place, that " there is perhaps no nation 
on earth, taken collectively, that can produce so fine a race of 
men as the KafFers : they are tall, stout, muscular, well made, 
elegant figures. They are exempt, indeed, from many of those 
causes that, in more civilized societies, contribute to impede the 
growth of the body. Their diet is simple ; their exercise of a 
salutary nature ; their body is neither cramped nor encumbered 
by clothing ; the air they breathe is pure ; their rest is not dis- 
turbed by violent love, nor their minds ruffled by jealousy ; they 
are free from those licentious appetites which proceed frequently 
tnore from a depraved imagination than a real natural want ; 
their frame is neither shaken nor enervated by the use of 
intoxicating liquors, which they are not acquainted with ; they 
eat when hungry, and sleep when nature demands it. With 
such a kind of life languor and melancholy have little to do. 
The countenance of a KaiFer is always cheerful ; and the whole 
of his demeanour bespeaks content and peace of mind." f 

L1CHTENSTEIN+ gives a similar description of this people; 
and mentions one individual as 7 feethigh. (Rhynland measure). 

The several people classed under the Mongolian variety are 
shorter in stature than the Europeans ; but, lil^e the nations 
belonging to the other varieties, they exhibit differences in this 
respect. Tlie Chinese and Japanese are nearly of the same 
height with oiu'selves. 

The Mongols, Calmucks, Burats, and other tribes of central 
Asia, are shorter. The Lewchews are a very diminutive race, 
the average height of the men not exceeding 5 feet 2 inclies at 
the utmost.§ The Laplanders and Samoiedes, in Europe, the 
Ostiacs, Yalaits, Tungooses, and Tschutski, in Asia, the Green- 
landers and Esquimaux of America, all, indeed, who inhabit high 
northern latitudes, are equally short, measuring from four to a 
little more than five feet ; |1 and they agree remarkably in other 
characters, although occupying countries so distant from each 

It has been long ago reported that a nation of white dwarfs, 

• Barrow's Southern Africa, v. i. p. 1C9. t Ihid. v. i. p. 205. 

X Travels in South Africa, ch. xvi. and xviii. 

I Macleod's Voyage of the Jllceste, ike. p. 110. 

jl " Such a person as J^'iels Sara, at Kautokcjno (in Lapland), who measured 
5 feet 8 inches English, may not be again found among many hundreds of 
them." Vou Buch, Travels, p. 354. 


called Quimos or Kimos, exists in the interior of Madagascar ; 
but no direct testimony on the subject has been offered to the 
public; and Flacourt, v/ho visited the island in the seven- 
teenth century, has treated the report as fabulous.* Lately, 
this nation of dwarfs has been again brought forwards ; Com- 
MERSON, who accompanied Bougainville as naturalist, and 
the Count de Modave, governor of the French settlement at 
Fort Dauphin, having declared their belief in its existence.f 
The only fact adduced in proof of this point is, that the governor 
purchased a female slave, of light colour, about three feet and a 
half high, with long arms reaching to her knees. Blumen- 
BACH X thinks it probable that this indiAadual must have been 
malformed, and in a state somewhat similar to that of the 
Cretins of Salzburg and the Valais. Without, therefore, denj'- 
ing the existence of some tribe which may have given origin to 
the reports respecting the Quimos, we may safely conclude 
that no proof has yet been brought forwards that any race of 
white long-armed dwarfs exist in the island of Madagascar. 

On reviewing the facts detailed in the foregoing pages, we 
see that, although the various races of men differ from each other 
in stature, as well as in other points, these differences are con- 
fined within narrower limits in man than in the species of 
domestic animals ; and consequently that they do not prove 
diversity of species. The pigs taken from Europe to the island 
of Cuba have grown to twice their original size, and the cattle of 
Paraguay have experienced a very remarkaljle increase. It is 
hardly necessary to mention the contrast between the small 
Welsh and the huge cart-horses, or the Flanders breed of those 
animals ; or between the Scotch or Welsh, and the Holstein 

Perhaps the horse affords the most remarkable instance of 
difference in stature. Mr. Pennant § says, that " in the inte- 
rior parts of Ceylon there is a small variety of this animal, not 
exceeding thirty inches in height, which is sometimes brought 
to Europe as a rarity." 

* Htstoire de la grande I/e de Madagascar. Paris, 16.38. 

+ The statementH of Commerson, who died at Madiigasear, and of Mr. de 
Modave, are introduced into the Voyage a Madagascar et aux Indes Orientales, 
))ar Mr. l'Al)b5 Rochon, Paris, 1791. A letter of Commerson to Lalande ia 
also appended to the Voyage aiitour du Monde of Bougainville. 

t De g. h. rar. naf. sect. iii. i 73. LeGentil, who was in Madagascar at the 
same time with Commerson, altOKether disbelieves the existence of any such 
dwarfish people. Voy. dans les jilers de I'lnde, t. ii. p. 503. And Sonnerat, 
who saw the individual mentioned in the text, considered it merely as an indi- 
vidual formation ; Voyage aux Indes Orientales, t. ii. p. 57. 

I History o/ Quadrtifi'ds, vol. i. p. 2. 


The Paduan fowl is twice the size of the common poultry. 

In further proof that the diversities of stature in mankind 
afford no sufficient argument of original specific difference, we 
may observe that individuals often occur in each race, differing 
from each other quite as \videly as the generality of any two 
races differ. Nay, we may even see two brothers as much 
unlike each other in this respect as the Laplander and the 

In endeavouring to account for the diversities of features, 
proportions, general form, stature, and the other particulars 
mentioned in the three preceding chapters, I must repeat an ob- 
servation already made and exemplified in speaking of colour ; 
namely, that the law of resemblance between parents and off- 
spring, which preserves species, and maintains uniformity in 
the living part of creation, suffers occasional and rare exceptions ; 
that, under certain circumstances, an offspring is produced with 
new properties, different from those of the progenitors ; and that 
the most powerful of these causes is that artificial mode of life 
which we call the state of domestication. 

A question here naturally suggests itself, how this comes 
about? How does it happen that any circumstances in the 
mode of life influence the result of the generative process ? The 
reply to this inquiry must be deferred until the internal mecha- 
nism of the animal motions shall be more completely laid open ; 
until we are able to show how the capillaries of the mother form 
the germ of a new being out of materials presented by the com- 
mon mass of nutritive fluid ; and how the vessels of this embryo, 
when more advanced, fashion the nutritive supply derived from 
the mother into a new set of organs, and give to the whole a 
more or less accurate resemblance to the bodies of both parents. 
At present we can only note the fact, that the domestic condition 
produces in great abvmdance not only those deviations from the 
natural state of the organization, which constitute disease, but 
also those departures from the ordinary course of the generative 
functions, which lead to the production of new characters in the 
offspring, and thus lay the foundation of new breeds. The 
domestic sow produces young twice a year; the wild animal 
only once. The former frequently brings forth monstrous 
foetuses, which are unknown in the latter. Our pigs, too, are 
invaded by a new kind of hydatids,* dispersed through the 

• Thejr are represented by Blumenbach in his Abhildungen Natur-historisclier 
Gegenstdnde ; No. xxxix. 


substance of all the organs, constituting what is called the 
measles in pork. The creation of these must be referred to an 
epocha posterior to that of the species in which they are found, 
as they do not exist in its natural state. 

Native or congenital peculiarities of form, like those of colour, 
are transmitted by generation. Hence we see a general similiT 
tudc in persons of the same blood, and can distinguish one 
brother by his resemblance to another, or know a son by his 
likeness to the father or mother, or even to the grandfather or 
grandmother. All the individuals of some families are charac- 
terized by particular lines of countenance : and we frequently 
observe a peculiar feature continued in a family for many 
generations. The thick lip introduced into the imperial house 
of Austria, by the marriage of the Emperor Maximilian with 
Mary of Burgundy, is visible in their descendants to this day, 
after a lapse of three centuries. Haller observes that his own 
family had been distinguished by tallness of stature for three 
generations, without excepting one out of numerous grandsons 
descended from one grandfather.* 

Individuals are occasionally produced with supernumerary 
members on the hands or feet, or on both ; and from these, 
whether males or females, the organic peculiarity frequently 
passes to their children. This does not constantly happen, 
because they intermarry with persons of the ordinary form; but 
if the six-fingered and six-toed could be matched together, and 
the breed could be preserved pure by excluding all who had not 
these additional members, there is no doubt that a permanent 
race might be formed constantly possessing this number of 
figures and toes. 

Pliny has mentioned examples of six-fingered persons among 
the Romans : such individuals received the additional name of 
sedigitus or sedigita. C. Horatius had two daughters with 
this peculiarity.f Reaumur speaks of a family in which a 
similar structure existed for three generations, being transmitted 
both in the male and femile lines.]: Mr. Carlisle has re- 
corded the particulars of a family, in which he traced supernu- 
merary toes and fingers for four generations. They were intro- 
duced by a female, who had six fingers on each hand, and six 
toes on each foot. From her marriage with a man naturally 
formed were produced ten children with a supernumerary meip- 

• El&m. physiol. lib. xxix. sept. ii. ? 8. + Hist. nat. lib. xi. 99. 

{ Art defaire edorre les Oiscaux domestiqucs, t, ii. p. 377 et suiv. 


ber on each limb ; and an eleventh, in which the pecnliarity 
existed in both feet and one hand ; the other hand being natu- 
rally formed. The latter married a man of the ordinary forma- 
tion; they had four children, of which three had one or two 
limbs natural, and the rest with the supernumerary parts, while 
the fourth had six fingers on each hand, and as many toes on 
each foot. The latter married a woman naturally formed, and 
had issue by her eight children, four with the usual structure, 
and the same number with supernumerary fingers or toes. Two 
of them were twins, of which one was naturally formed, the 
other six-fingered and six-toed.* 

Another remarkable example of the occurrence of a singular 
organic peculiarity, and of its hereditary transmission, is afforded 
by the English family of porcupine men, who have derived that 
name from the greater part of the body being covered by hard 
dark-coloured excrescences of a horny nature. The whole sur- 
face, excepting the head and face, the palms and soles, is occu- 
pied by this unnatural kind of integument. The first account 
of this family is found in the Philosophical Transactions, 
No. 424 ;J and consists of the description of a boy, named 
Edward Lambert, fourteen years old, born in Suffolk, and 
exhibited to the Royal Society in 1731, by Mr. Machin, one 
of the secretaries. " It was not easy to think of any sort of 
skin or natural integument, that exactly resembled it. Some 
compared it to the bark of a tree ; others thought it looked like 
seal skin ; others, like the skin of an elephant, or the skin about 
the legs of the rhinoceros ; and some took it to be like a great 
wart, or number of warts uniting and overspreading the whole 
body. The bristly parts, which were chiefly about the belly 
and flanks, looked and rustled like the bristles or quills of a 
hedgehog, shorn off within an inch of the skin." These pro- 
ductions were hard, callous, and insensible. Other children of 
the same parents were naturally formed. 

In a subsequent account presented to the Society twenty-four 
years afterwards by Mr. H. Baker, and illustrated with a figure 
of the hands, this man is said to continue in the same state. He 
was a goodlooking person, and enjoyed good health : every 
thing connected with his excretions was natural ; and he de- 
rived no inconvenience from the state of his skin, except that it 
would crack and bleed after very hard work He had now 

• rhiloi. Transact. 1814, pt. i. p. 94. 

t The account is accompanied with a figure of the back of the hand, and a 
magnified view of the excrescences ; pi. i. p. 299. 


been sh(nvn in London under tlie name of the Porcupine Man. 
"The covering," says Mr. Baker, "seemed most nearly to 
resemble an innumerable company of warts, of a dark brown 
colour, and a cylindrical figure, rising to a like height (an inch, 
at their full size), and growing as close as possible to one 
another, but so stiff and elastic, that when the hand is drawn 
over them they make a rustling noise." 

They are shed annually, in the autumn or winter, and suc- 
ceeded by a fresh growth, which at first are of a paler brown. 
" He has had the small-pox, and been twice salivated, in hopes 
of getting rid of this disagreeable covering ; during which dis- 
orders the warts came oS', and his skin appeared white and 
smooth, like that of other peoj^le ; but on his recovery it soon 
became as it was before. His health at other times has been 
very good during his whole life." " He has had six children, 
all with the same rugged covering as himself; the first appear- 
ance whereof in them, as M'ell as in him, came on in about nine 
weeks after the birth. Only one of them is living, a very pretty 
boy, eight years of age, whom I saw and examined with his 
father, and who is exactly in the same condition." * 

Two brothers, John Lambert, aged twenty- two, and Rich- 
ard, aged fourteen, who must have been grandsons of the 
original porcupine man, Edward Lambert, were shown in 
Germany, and had the cutaneous incrustation already described. 
A minute account of them was published by Dr. W. G. Tile- 
sius,t who mentions that the wife of the elder, at the time he 
saw him, was in England pregnant. 

Let us suppose that the porcupine family had been exiled 
from human society, and been obliged to take up their abode in 
some solitary spot or desert island. By matching with each 
other, a race would have been produced, more widely different 
from us in external appearance than the Negro. If they had 
been discovered at some remote period, our philosophers would 
have explained to us how the soil, air, or climate had produced 
so strange an organization ; or would have demonstrated that 
they must have sprung from an originally different race; for 
who would acknowledge such bristly beings for brothers ? 

The giants collected by Frederick William L for his 
regiment of guards produced a very tall race in the town where 

• PMlos. Trans, v. xlix. p. 21. A representation of the hand is also given 
"by Edwards, in his Gleanings ofA''atural History, v. i. p. '312. 

T Beschreibung und Mihildimg der heiden sogenannleri Slachelschiceinmenschen; 
AUeni)urf5, fol. 1802, with two plates, containing several figures. Tliey are also 
described by Blumenbach, in Voigt's J\''eues Magazin, v. lii, part 4. 


they were quartered : in the language of Dr. Johnson, they 
" propagated procerity."* 

This resemblance of offspring to parents, in native peculiari- 
ties of structure, prevails so extensively, that those minute, and 
in many cases imperceptible differences of organization or vital 
properties, which render men disposed to particular diseases, 
are conveyed from father to son for age after age. This is 
matter of common notoriety with respect to scrofula, consump- 
tion, gout, rheumatism, insanity, and other affections of the 
head. There is more doubt in some other cases, as harelip, 
squinting, club-foot, hernia, aneurism, cataract, fatuity, &c. ; 
of which, however, there are many well-authenticated exam- 
ples.f There is an hereditary blindness in a family in North 
America which has always affected some individuals for the last 
hundred years. J; I have attended, at different times, for com- 
plaints of the urinary organs, a gentleman, whose father and 
grandfather died of stone. 

In small and secluded communities, where marriages take 
place within what we may regard only as a more extensive 
family, hereditary varieties are blended and produce one form, 
which prevails through the whole circle. The operation of this 
principle may be clearly perceived in several small districts : it 
will act Avith more efficacy, and, consequently, be more discernible 
in larger collections of men, where differences of manners, reli- 
gion, and language, and mutual animosities, forbid all inter- 
marriages with surrounding people. In the course of time the 
individual peculiarities are lost, and a natural characteristic 
countenance or form is established, which, if the restrictions of 
intercourse are rigidly adhered to, is constantly more and more 
strengthened. The ancient Germans, according to the descrip- 
tion of Tacitus, were such a people ; and his short, but expres- 
sive sketch of their character, most aptly confirms the preceding 
view : " Ipse eorum opinionibus accedo, qui Germanise populos 
nullis aliis aliarum nationum connul)iis infectos, propriam et 
sinceram et tantum sui similem gentera extitisse arbitrantur. 
Unde habitus quoque corporum., quanquam in tanto hominum 
numero, idem omnibus ; truces et ca;rulei oculi, rutilse comae, 

T " The guards of the late King Frederic William of Prussia, and likewise 
those of the present monarch, who are all of an uncommon size, have been 
(juartered at Potsdam for fifty years past. A gi-eat number of the present 
inhabitants of that place are of very high stature, which is more especially 
striking in the numerous gigantic figures of women." Forster's Obserrationt 
fnade on a Voyage round the World; pp. 24S, 249. 

i Ilailer, Ekm. Physiol, loc. cit. \ J^cw I'oric Medical Beposilory, v. iii. No. 1. 


magna corpora." De Morib. Germ. 4. The Gipsies afford 
another example of a people spread over all Europe for the last 
four centuries, and nearly confined in marriages, by their pecu- 
liar way of life, to their own tribe. In Transylvania, where 
there is a great number of them, and the race remains pure, 
their features can consequently be more accurately observed : 
in every country and climate, however, which they have inha- 
bited, they preserve their distinctive character so perfectly, that 
they are recognized at a glance, and cannot be confounded 
with the natives. But, above all, the Jews exhibit the most 
striking instance of a pecuhar national countenance, so strongly 
marked in almost every individual, tkat persons the least used 
to physiognomical observations detect it instantly, yet not easily 
understood or described. Religion has in this case most suc- 
cessfully exerted its power in preventing communion with other 
races ; and this exclusion of intercourse with all others has pre- 
served the Jewish countenance so completely in every soil and 
climate of the globe, that a miracle has been thought necessary 
to account for the apjiearance. 

In what other way can we explain the difference between the 
EngUsh and Scotch ? Would it be more reasonable to suppose 
that they descended from different stocks ; or to ascribe the 
high cheek-bones of the latter to the soil or climate ? 

As, on the one hand, a particular fonn may be perpetuated by 
confining the intercourse of the sexes to individuals in. whom it 
exists ; so, again, it may be changed by introducing into the 
breed those remarkable for any other quality. Connections in 
marriage will generally be formed on the idea of human beauty 
in any country ; an influence this, which will gradually approxi- 
mate the countenance towards one common standard. If men, 
in the affair of marriage, were as much under management as 
some animals are in the exercise of their generative functions, 
an absolute ruler might accomplish, in his dominions, almost 
any idea of the human form. 

The great and noble have generally had it more in their power 
than others to select the beauty of nations in marriage ; and 
thus, while, without system or design, they gratified merely 
their own taste, they have distinguished their order, as much by 
elegant proportions of person, and beautiful features, as by its 
prerogatives in society. " The same superiority," says Cook, 
" which is observable in the erees or nobles in aU the other 
islands, is found here (Sandwich Islands). Those, whom we 


saw, were, without exception, perfectly well formed ; whereas, 
the lower sort, besides their general inferiority, are subject to 
all the variety of make and figure that is seen in the populace 
of other countries."* 

In no instance, perhaps, has the personal beauty of a people 
been more improved, by introducing handsome individuals to 
breed from, than in the Persians, of whom the nobility have, by 
this means, completely succeeded in washing out the stain of 
their Mongolian origin. " That the blood of the Persians," 
says Chardin, " is naturally gross, appears from the Guebres, 
who are a remnant of the ancient Persians, and are an ugly, 
ilhmade, rough-skinned people. This is also apparent from the 
inhabitants of the provinces in the neighbourhood of India, who 
are nearly as clumsy and deformed as the Guebres, because they 
never formed alliances with any other tribes. But, in the other 
parts of the kingdom, the Persian blood is nov/ highly refined 
by frequent intermixtures with the Georgians and Circassians, 
two nations which surpass all the world in personal beauty. 
There is hardly a man of rank in Persia who is not born of a 
Georgian or Circassian mother ; and even the king himself is 
commonly sprung, on the female side, from one or other of 
these countries. As it is long since this mixture commenced, 
the Persian women have become very handsome and beautiful, 
though they do not rival the ladies of Georgia. The men are 
generally tall and erect, their complexion is ruddy and vigorous, 
and they have a graceful air and an engaging deportment. The 
mildness of the climate, joined to their temperance in living, 
has a great influence in improving their personal beauty. This 
quality they inherit not from their ancestors ; for, without the 
mixture mentioned above, the men of rank in Persia, who are 
descendants of the Tatars, would be extremely ugly and 
deformed. "t 

There is no one of the varieties above enumerated, which does 
not exist in a still greater degree in animals confessedly of the 
same species. What differences in the figure and proportion 
of parts in the various breeds of horses ; in the Arabian, the 
Barb, and the German ! How striking the contrast between 
the long-legged cattle of the Cape of Good Hope and the short- 
legged of England ! The same difference is observed in swine. 
The cattle have no horns in some breeds of England and Ire- 

• Vwjaae to the Pacific ; bool^ iii. chap. 6. .Forster gives a similar repre- 
8(<ntati(in'c)f tlie Otaheiteans ; 04*. on a yoyage round the World, p. 2a9. 
t Voyage en Perse, t. ii. p. 34. 


land ; in Sicily, on the contrary, they have very large ones. A 
breed of sheep, with an extraordinary number of horns, as three, 
four, or five, (ovis polycerata), occurs in some northern coun- 
tries, as, for instance, in Iceland, and is accounted a mere 
variety. The Cretan breed of the same animal (ovis strepsi- 
ceros) has long, large, and twisted horns. We may also point 
out the solidungular swine, with undivided hoof, as well as 
others with three divisions of that part; the five-toed fowl 
(gallus pentadactylus) ; the fat-rumped sheep of Tatary and 
Thibet, and the broad-tailed breed of the Cape, in which the 
tail grows so large, that it is placed on a board, supported by 
wheels, for the convenience of the animal ; and the rumpless 
fowl Cgallus ecaudatus) of America, and particularly Virginia, 
which has undoubtedly descended from the English breed. 

The common fowl, in different situations, runs into almost 
every conceivable variety. Some are large, some small ; some 
tall, some dwarfish. They may have a small and single, a large 
and complicated comb ; or great tufts of feathers on the head. 
Some have no tail. The legs of some are yellow and naked, of 
others, covered with feathers. There is a breed with the fea- 
thers reversed in their direction all over the body ; and another 
in India with white downy feathers and black skin. All these 
exhibit endless diversities of colour. 

A breed of sheep was lately produced in America, the origin 
and establishment of which confirm the positions already brought 
forwards. An ewe produced a male lamb of singular proportion 
and appearance. His offspring, by other ewes, had, in many 
instances, the same characters with himself. These were short- 
ness of the limbs * and length of the body, so that the breed 
was called the otter breed, from being compared to that animal. 
The fore-limbs were also crooked, so as to give them in one 
part the appearance of an elbow, and hence the name ancon 
(from ayKoov) was given to this kind of sheep. They were pro- 
pagated in consequence of being less able to jump over fences. 
" They can neither run nor jump like other sheep. They are 
more infirm in their organic construction, as well as more 
awkward in their gait, having their fore-legs always crooked, 
and their feet turned inwards when they walk. 

" When both parents are of the otter or ancon breed, their 

descendants inherit their pe-culiar appearance and pi'oportions 

• Sir Everard Home found that the bone of the fore- leg in one of these 
sheep was larger but not so long as that of a much smaller Welsh sheep. 
Thomson's AnnaU of Philosophy, v. i. 


of form. I have heard but of one questionable case of a con- 
trary nature. 

" When an ancon ewe is impregnated by a common ram, the 
increase resembles wholly either the ewe or the ram. The 
increase of a common ewe, impregnated by an ancon ram, 
follows entirely the one or the other, without blending any of 
the distinguishing and essential peculiarities of both. 

" Frequent instances have happened where common ewes 
have had twins by ancon rams, when one exhibited the com- 
plete marks and features of the ewe ; the other of the ram. The 
contrast has been rendered singularly striking when one short- 
legged and one long-legged lamb, produced at a birth, have 
been seen sucking the dam at the same time."* 

The formation of new varieties by breeding from individuals 
in whom the desirable properties exist in the greatest degree, 
is seen much more distinctly in our domestic animals than in 
our own species, since the former are entirely in our power. 
Tlie great object is to preserve the race pure, by selecting for 
propagation the animals most conspicuous for the size, colour, 
form, proportion, or any other property we may fix on, and 
excluding all others. In this way we may gain sheep valuable 
for their fleece, or for their carcass, large or small, with thick 
or thin legs ; just such, in short, as we choose, within certain 

The importance of this principle is fully understood in rear- 
ing horses. The Arabian preserves the pedigree of his horse 
more carefully than his own ; and never allows any ignoble 
blood to be mixed with that of his valued breeds : he attests 
their unsullied nobility by formal depositions and numerous 
mtnesses.f The Enghsh breeder knows equally well that he 
must vary his stallions and mares according as he wishes for a 
cart-horse, a riding-horse, or a racer; and that a mistake in 
this point would immediately frustrate his views. The distin- 

• Col. Humphreys On a new Breed of Sheep. Philos. Trans. 1813, pt. i. 

t " Several things concur to maintain this perfection in the horses of Arabia, 
such as the great care the Arabs take in preserving the breed genuine, and by 
permitting none but stallions of the first form to have access to the mares ; this 
is never done but in the presence of a witness, the secretary of the emir, or 
some public othcer; he attests the fact, records the name of the horse, mare, 
and wiiole pedigree of each ; and these attestations are carefully preserved, for 
on them depends the future price of the foal." A copv of a public legal certi- 
ficate given to the purchaser of an Arabian horse is added in a note. Pennant's 
British Zoology, v. ii. App. 1. Equal attention is paid to the breed of horses 
by the Circassians, who distinguish the various races by marks on the buttock. 
To imprint the character of noble descent on a horse of common race is a kind 
of forgery punished with death. Pallas IVavels in the Southern Provinces oj 
the Russian Empire, ch, xiv. 


guished and various excellencies, which the several English 
races of these useful animals have acquired, show what close 
attention and perseverance can accomplish in the improvement 
of breed. 

Blood is equally important in the cock ; and the introduction 
of an inferior individual would inevitably deteriorate the proper- 
ties of the offspring. 

The hereditary transmission of physical and moral qualities, 
so well understood and familiarly acted on in the domestic 
animals, is equally true of man A superior breed of human 
beings could only be produced by selections and exclusions 
similar to those so successfully employed in rearing our more 
valuable animals. Yet, in the human species, where the object 
is of such consequence, the principle is almost entirely over- 
looked. Hence all the native deformities of mind and body, 
which spring up so plentifully in our artificial mode of life, are 
handed down to posterity, and tend by their multiplication and 
extension to degrade the race. Consequently, the mass of the 
population in our large cities will not bear a comparison with 
that of savage nations, in which if imperfect or deformed indi- 
viduals should survive the hardships of their first rearing, they 
are prevented, by the kind of aversion they inspire, from pro- 
pagating their deformities. The Hottentots have become almost 
proverbial for ugliness ; and one of their tribes, the Bosjesmen, 
are plainly ranked by an acute and intelligent traveller " among 
the ugliest of human beings."* The numerous sketches of 
Bosjesmen and Hottentots taken by Mr. S. Daniel, have been 
very kindly and politely shown to me by his brother Mr. W. 
Daniel. In form, variety, and expression of countenance, 
they are not at all inferior to our cocknies ; while, in animation, 
in beauty, symmetry and strength of body, in ease and elegance 
of attitude, they are infinitely superior. 

This inattention to breed is not, however, of so much conse- 
quence in the people as in the rulers ; in those to whom the 
destinies of nations are intrusted : on whose qualities and actions 
depend the present and future happiness of millions. Here, 
unfortunately, the evil is at its height : laws, customs, preju- 
dices, pride, bigotry, confine them to intermarriages with each 
other, and thus degradation of race is added to all the perni- 
cious influences inseparable from such exalted stations. What 
result should we expect if a breeder of horses or dogs were 

• Barrow, Travels in Southern Africa; v. i. p. 277. 


restricted in his choice to some ten or twenty families taken at 
random ? if he could not step out of this little circle to select 
finely formed or high-spirited individuals ? How long a time 
would elapse before the fatal effects of this in-breeding would 
be conspicuous in the degeneracy of the descendants ? The 
strongest illustration of these principles will be found in the 
present state of many royal houses in Europe : the evil must be 
progressive, if the same course of proceeding be continued. 

I shall cite a single example to prove, what will to most 
persons seem unnecessary, namely, that mental defects are pro- 
pagated as weU as corporeal. " We know," says Halleb, "a 
very remarkable instance of two noble females, who got hus- 
bands on account of their wealth, although they were nearly 
idiots, and from whom this mental defect has extended for a 
century into several families, so that some of all their descend- 
ants still continue idiots in the fourth and even in the fifth 
generation." * 


Differences in the Animal Economy. — Diseases. — External Senses. — Language. 

There are no essential differences between the various races of 
the human species in the execution of the animal functions. 
The circumstances which have been hitherto noticed in this part 
of the subject, are plainly referable, for the most part, to the 
effect of climate, mode of life, exercise of the organs, or other 
external causes, and not to any original diversity. 

I have already alluded to the peculiar odour of the cutaneous 
secretion in the Negro (p. 208). It is said by those who are 
well acquainted with this race, to be very characteristic, and to 
be transmitted to the offspring, as well as their other peculiari- 
ties, in the mixed breeds. It has been also observed that they 
sweat much less than Europeans. 

The lice, which infest the bodies of Negroes, are darker 
coloured and larger than those of Europeans ;f but I believe 
that naturalists have not yet ascertained whether they are of the 
same, or of different species in the two cases. 

It is hardly necessary to aUude to the erroneous notion of 
the seminal fluid being black in Negroes ; this, however, is 

* Elem. Physiol, lib. xxix. sect. 2. \ 8. 

t Long's History of Jamaica. White on the Regular Cfradation, p. 79, note. 
Soemmerring, iieher die kUrperliche Verschiedenheit, p. 8, note. 


expressly stated by Herodotus, but properly contradicted by 

The blood and the bile have the same colour and obvious 
external characters in the dark as in the white races. I am not 
aware that any comparative chemical examinations of these 
or the other animal fluids have been made. 

Dr. WiNTERBOTTOM * obscrved no difference between 
African and European women in respect to the menstrual dis- 
charge. The earlier maturity of the former seems to be simply 
the effect of climate ; it is equally observable in the white 
races which occupy warm countries. 

The very easy labours of Negresses, native Americans, and 
Other women in the savage state, have been often noticed by 
travellers. This point is not explicable by any prerogative of 
physical formation ; for the pelvis is rathej smaller in these 
dark-coloured races than in the European and other white 
people. Simple diet, constant and laborious exertion, give to 
these children of nature a hardiness of constitution, and exempt 
them from most of the ills which afflict the indolent and luxuri- 
ous females of civilized societies. In the latter however, the 
hard-working women of the lower classes in the country, often 
suffer as little from childbirth as those of any other race. Ana- 
logous differences, from the like causes, may be seen in the 
animal kingdom. Cows kept in towns, and other animals 
deprived of their healthful exercise, and accustomed to unna- 
tural food and habits, often have difficult labours, and suffer 
much in parturition. 

Accurate observers in many parts of the world have remarked 
that the dark races are characterized by rareness and almost 
entire absence of personal deformity; all the individuals being 
well made, and many exhibiting the finest models of symmetry 
and beauty. The mode of life will account in great measure for 
this physical prerogative, which hunting, pastoral, and even 
agricultural tribes, enjoy over their more polished brethren of 
highly-civilized communities and large cities. f Humboldt 
considers that something is also due to natural strength of con- 
stitution. After stating the great freedom from deformity in 
the Peruvian Indians, in a passage which I have already quoted 

• Account of the Native Africans, v. ii. p. 259. 

t Thus Dr. Somerville says of the Hottentots : " Huic gonti, fasciarum in 
infantibus, pileonim in ajtate provectioribus, nullus usus. Defonnitas raris- 
fiima est, nisi ex easu aliqiio. Thorax ainplus, corpus erectum, artus torosi et 
agiliores multo quam facile cvedideiint quibus vestitus arctior est I'amiliaris. " 
Medico-chir. Trails, v. vii. p. 156. 

P 2 


(see p. 164), he proceeds to 'observe that "when we examine 
savage hunters or warriors, we are tempted to believe that they 
are all weU made, because those who have any natural deformity 
either perish from fatigue, or are exposed by their parents ; but 
the Mexican and Peruvian Indians, those of Quito and New 
Grenada, are agriculturists, who can only be compared with the 
class of European peasantry. We can have no doubt, then, that 
the absence of natural deformities among them is the effect of 
their mode of life, and of the constitution peculiar to their race. 
All men of very sv/arthy complexion, those of Mongol and 
American origin, and especially the Negroes, participate in the 
same advantage. We are inclined to believe that the Arab- 
European [Caucasian] race possesses a greater flexibility of 
organization, and that it is more easily modified by a great 
number of exterior; causes, such as variety of aliments, climates, 
and habits, and consequently has a greater tendency to deviate 
from its original model." * 

I am not aware that any difference has been ascertained 
between the various races of man in the average length of life. 
Very old persons are sometimes seen among the dark as well 
as among the white people. 

" It is by no means uncommon," says Humboldt, " to see 
in Mexico, in the temperate zone, half-way up the Cordillera, 
natives, and especially women, reach a hundred years of age. 
This old age is generally comfortable ; for the Mexican and 
Peruvian Indians preserve their strength to the last. While I 
was at Lima the Indian Hilario Pari died at the village of 
Chiguata, four leagues distant from the town of Arequipa, at the 
age of 143. He remained united in marriage for 90 years to 
an Indian of the name of Andrea Alea Zar, who attained 
the age of 1 17. This old Peruvian went, at the age of 130, from 
three to four leagues daily on foot." 

Mr. Edwards informs us that the Negroes in the West 
Indies often attain a great age ; f and Mr. Barrow saw Hot- 
tentots more than 100 years old. J 

Although the general uniformity in structure and functions 
throughout the species must be expected to produce a general 
similarity in diseases, the obvious organic variations in the 
several races lead us to look for some modifications in the 

• Political Essay, v. i. p. 152, 153. 

+ History of the ff'est Indies, v. ii. n. 100, an example of a Negress, 120 years 
old : V. iii. p. 247, another strong and hearty at the age of 95 at least, 
t Travels in the Interior of Southern jljrica, v. i. pp. 383, 398. 


morbid phenomena. But the concurring influence of other 
causes, such as climate, diet, mode of life, and moral agencies, 
renders it difficult to distinguish what may be owing simply to 
peculiarity of organization. This discrimination can only be 
accomplished by a long series of patient observations on nume- 
rous individuals of each race, and under similar circumstances 
in different parts of the world. 

In his Treatise on Tropical Diseases, Dr. Mosely observes 
that " the locked-jaw appears to be a disease entirely of irrita- 
bility. Negroes, who are most subject to it, whatever the cause 
may be, are void of sensibility to a surprising degree. They 
are not subject to nervous diseases. They sleep sound in 
every disease, nor does any mental disturbance ever keep them 
awake. They bear chirurgical operations much better than 
white people ; and what would be the cause of insupportable 
pain to a white man, a Negro vv-ould almost disregard. I have 
amputated the legs of many Negroes, who have held the upper 
part of the limb themselves." 

Negroes are so seldom affected by the yellow fever, that they 
have often been said not to l)e susceptible of it ; and there have 
been instances in which, under a very general prevalence of the 
complaint, not one has fallen sick. On other occasions some 
have been seized with this fever ; but the number has been small, 
and they have recovered more easily than the whites. 

If the yellow fever be a highly inflammatory affection, pro- 
duced by those external causes which are peculiar to hot climates, 
we shall not be surprised that Negroes, who are organized for, 
and habituated to such climates, enjoy, when contrasted with 
the whites, a comparative exemption from its destructive attacks. 

A singular instance is recorded, in the Philosophical Transac- 
tions,* of a very fatal inflammatory fever, which appeared in 
two islands on the coast of North America (Nantucket and 
Martha's Vineyard), and was confined entirely to the Indian 
(American) population ; not a single white person having been 
affected on either island. The whole number of Indians on 
Nantucket was 340 ; of these 258 had the distemper in the 
course of six months, and only 36 recovered. Of those who 
did not take the disease, 40 lived in English families, and 8 
dwelt separate. In Martha's Vineyard it went through every 
Indian family into which it came, not one escaping it. Of 52 
persons affected, 39 died. A few individuals of mixed breed 
• Vol. Uv. for the year 1764: p. 386. 


(European and Indian), and one of Indian and Negro, had the 
distemper, but recovered. None, indeed, died but such as were 
entirely of Indian blood : hence it was called the Indian sickness. 

In three Negroes, who died of disease, Soemmerring found 
the same morbid appearances ; and they were peculiar. They 
all perished with symptoms of consumption. Besides indura- 
tion and abscess of the lungs, they had thickening of the coats 
of the intestines, and deposition of a steatomatous matter in 
them. In the first there were caseous concretions in several 
parts of the abdomen ; and the small intestines seemed as if 
covered by a layer of fat. The bronchial glands were greatly 
diseased. In the second, the intestinal canal and peritoneum 
were every where united by adhesions, and beset with rather 
hard, yellowish black tubercles, of various size and form. The 
mesenteric glands were diseased. In the third, the appearances 
were nearly similar ; the abdominal viscera all adhering together, 
and covered by a kind of adipous stratum.* 

I have seen similar appearances to these in the bodies of some 
Negroes. The morbid change of the bowels, of which the coats 
are thickened by a black and yellow newly-deposited substance, 
is different from any thing I have seen in Europeans. 

Monkeys are carried off in these climates by consumption 
and tubercular affections of the abdominal viscera. They exhibit 
morbid appearances analogous to those just mentioned ; to 
which, affections of the bones are often added. The general 
unhealthy condition of the frame in both cases would, I appre- 
hend, be termed scrofula by nosologists ; and its cause is pro- 
bably the coldness of the climate, together, in the case of the 
animals, with confinement, impure air, and unnatural food. 

The disease called the yaws is a peculiar morbid production 
of Africa, and has been conveyed by the Negro slaves to the 
West Indies, where it seems to be communicable to Europeans.f 

The dark-coloured races exhibit in general a great acuteness 
of the external senses, which is in some instances heightened by 
exercise to a degree almost incredible. In the unsettled hfe of 
wandering tribes the chief occupations are hunting, war, and 
plunder. The members of the community are trained from 
their earliest infancy to these pursuits ; and their progress in 
the necessary accomplishments determines not only the degree 
of their own personal enjoyment and security, but also their 

* Ueher die korperliche Verschiedenheit, \ 67, 68. 

+ Dr. Bateman's Practical Si/nojms ; Ord. vii. No. 9. 


influence over others, and their rank in the association. The 
astonishing perfection of their sight, hearing, and smelling, 
must be referred, I apprehend, to the constant exercise of the 
organs ; as their capability of enduring violent or continued 
exertion in performing long journeys is the simple result of 
habit. Both are very interesting in a physiological view, and 
acquaint us with the extent of our powers, which are very 
imperfectly developed in the members of civilized societies. 

Mr. Collins * has mentioned the quick-sightedness of the 
New Hollanders ; and another traveller has borne testimony to 
the same effect. " The quickness of their eye and ear is equally 
singular : they can hear and distinguish objects which would 
totally escape an European. This circumstance renders them 
very acceptable guides to our sportsmen in the woods, as they 
never fail to point out the game before any European can dis- 
cover it."t 

In describing a New Zealander, who accompanied him to 
England, Mr. Savage says, " It was worthy of remark how 
much his sight and hearing were superior to other persons on 
board the ship ; the sound of a distant gun was distinctly heard, 
or a strange sail readily discernible, by Moyhanger, when no 
other man on board could hear or perceive them." | 

We learn from Mr. Barrow that the Hottentots, " by the 
quickness of their eye, will discover deer and other sorts of 
game when very far distant ; and they are equally expert in 
watching a bee to its nest. They no sooner hear the humming 
of the insect, than they squat themselves on the ground, and, 
having caught it with the eye,follow it to an incredible distance."§ 

He relates the following anecdote of one whom he had left 
behind iU on a journey : " He had fallen asleep about the 
middle of the preceding day, and had not awakened till night. 
Though very dark, and unacquainted with a single step of our 
route, he had found us by following the track of the waggon. 
At this sort of business a Hottentot is uncommonly clever. 
There is not an animal among the numbers that range the wilds 
of Africa, if he be at all acquainted with it, the print of whose 
foot he cannot distinguish." " The print of any of his compa- 
nions' feet he would single out among a thousand,"|| 

Dr. SoMERViLLE Confirms this statement, and refers the 

• Account of the English Colony of N. S. Wales; pp. .553, 584. 

t TurnbuU, Voyage round the IVorld; second edition, p. 92. 

t Some Account of New Zealand; p. 101. 

{ Travels in Southern .'Ifrica, v. i. p. 100. || Ihid. p. .T70. 


superiority of the Hottentots in these points to constant exer- 
cise of the organs.* 

In his freq uent intercourse with the Nomadic tribes of Asia, 
Pallas had the best opportunities of observing their capabi- 
Uties. " The Calmucks," he says, " have a fine nose, a good 
ear, and an extremely acute eye. On their journeys and mihtary 
expeditions they often smell out a fire or a camp, and thus pro- 
cure quarters for the night, or obtain booty. Many of them can 
distinguish, by smelling at the hole of a fox or other animal, 
whether the creature be there or not. By lying flat, and putting 
their ear to the ground, they can catch at a great distance the- 
noise of horses, of a flgck, or of a single strayed animal. But 
nothing is so surprising as the perfection of their eyes, and the 
extraordinary distance at which they often perceive, from incon- 
siderable heights, small objects, such as the rising dust caused 
by cattle or horsemen ; more particularly as the undulation of 
the boundless steppes or plains, and the vapours which rise 
from and float upon them in warm weather, render things very 
obscure. In the expedition which the Torgot Vice-chan Uba- 
SCHI led against the Kubanians, the Calmuck force would 
certainly have missed the enemy, if a common Calmuck had not 
perceived, at the estimated distance of thirty versts, the smoke 
and dust of the hostile army, and pointed it out to other equally 
experienced eyes, when the commander, Colonel Kischinskoi, 
could discern nothing with a good glass. They pursue lost 
or stolen cattle or game by the track for miles over deserts. 
Kirgises, or even Russians, in the wild parts of the empire, are 
equally able to follow and discriminate tracks by the eye. This, 
indeed, is not difficult on soft ground, or over snow; but it 
requires great practice and skill to choose the right out of 
several intermingled traces, to follow it over loose sand or snow, 
not to lose it in marshes or deep grass, but rather to judge 
from the direction of the grass, or from the depth of the print 
in snow ar sand, how long it has been made."t 

Representations equally surprising of the perfection of the 
senses are confirmed to us by the most unexceptionable authori- 
ties in the case of the North American savages ; and of other 
wild races. 

* " Noiinulli feras venandi aut hostes efiFugiendi perpetua fere consuetudine, 
hac faeultate (visus) adeo poUebant, ut in campis arenosi-s vesligia observare 
possent, ubi aliis nihil oranino appareret : banc I'acultatem enim, utpote turn 
ad victual, turn ad salutem ipsam pr()rs\is necessarian!, assidue exercent, etsic 
mirum in modum acnunt." Medico-chir. l'ra?is. v. vii. pp. 155, 156. 

t Sainmlungen hutor. nachrichl. Th. i. pp. 100, 101. 


The differences of language are as numerous as the other 
distinctions which characterize the several races of men. The 
various degrees of natural capacity, and of intellectual progress ; 
the prevalence of particular faculties ; the nature of surrounding 
circumstances ; the ease or difficulty with which the different 
wants and desires are gratified, will produce not only peculiar 
characters in the nature and construction of language, but in its 
copiousness and development. 

In the formation of the sound, or voice, and in its utterance 
in an articulated form, or speech, no further varieties are observed, 
than the different combinations of the several organs concerned 
in the process will easily explain. The pronunciation of the 
Hottentots has generally been deemed very singular by European 
observers ; * who compare it to the clucking of a turkey, or the 
harsh and broken noises produced by some other birds. They 
have numerous guttural sounds, produced deep in the throat, 
and pronounced with a peculiar clack of the tongue, which is 
quickly struck against and withdrawn from the teeth or palate. 
They combine their aspirated gutturals with hard consonants, 
without any intervening vowels, in a manner that Europeans 
cannot imitate : it is never acquired except occasionally by the 
child of a colonist when accustomed to it from youth. Adelung 
represents that their bony palate is smaller, shorter, and less 
arched than in the other races : and that the tongue, particularly 
in the Bosjesmen, is rounder, thicker, and shorter.f 

One of the most curious points in the subject of language is 
the continued existence in a large portion of Asia, very anciently 
civilized, and considerably advanced at least in the useful arts, 
of simply monosyllabic languages. Their words are merely 
radical sounds of one syllable, not admitting of inflexion or com- 
position, so that all modifications and accessory ideas must be 
either overlooked or imperfectly expressed by tedious and 
awkward circumlocution. Such are the languages of Thibet, 
the contiguous immense empire of China, and the neighbouring 
countries of Ava, Pegu, Siam, Tungquin, and Cochin-china. 
" These extensive regions, and these only in the whole world, 
betray in their present language all the imperfection of the first 
attempts at speech. As the earUest efforts of the infant are 

• Barrow and Lichtenstein's Travels in Southern Africa. Similar descrip- 
tions are ^\vqt\ by Sparmann, Thunberg, and Le Vaillant. Dr. Somervifie 
observes the peculiarity of the Hottentot utterance, to which, he says, nothing 
similar is heard in any other part of the world. Medico-chir. 2'rans. v, vii, p. 156. 

+ Mithridales; 3'. Theil ; 1=. Abtheilung, pp. 29 J, 293. 

P 3 


merely sounds of one syllable, so the first adult children of 
nature stammered out their meaning in the same way : the people 
of Thibet, China, and the neighbouring southern countries, go 
on speaking as they learned some thousands of years ago, in the 
cradle of the species. There is no separation of ideas into certain 
classes, such as produce the distinction of the parts of speech 
in more perfectly formed languages. One and the same sound 
signifies joyful, joy, and to rejoice ; and that through all persons, 
numbers, and tenses No attempt is made, by affi.\ing sounds 
expressive of relations or accessory notions to the simple mono- 
syllabic root, to give richness, clearness, and harmony to the 
poor language. On the contrary, the mere radical ideas are set 
down together, and the hearer must guess at the connecting 
links. As there are no inflexions, the cases and numbers are 
either not noted, or they are marked, under urgent circumstances, 
by circumlocution. They form plurals as children do, either by 
repetition, as tree, tree, or by adding the words much or other j 
as tree much, tree other. I much, or / other, means we. Be heaven 
I other Father who, is the mode of expressing ' Our Father, 
which art in heaven ! ' " * " That languages of such poverty, 
which merely place together the most essential ideas without 
connecting them, must open a wide field for ambiguity and 
obscurity in civil life, and be totally inapplicable to the purposes 
of science, is immediately apparent. Hence the people who 
speak them must ever remain children in understanding. How- 
ever the Chinese may exert themselves, so long as they are 
impeded by this imjierfect language, they must be unable to 
appropriate to themselves the sciences and arts of Europe. "f 

We are again surprised at discovering that this peculiar lan- 
guage is not connected with the peculiar organization of that 
variety (the Mongolian) to which the people enumerated above 
belong. The tribes immediately adjoining the latter on the north, 
for example, the proper Mongols, the Calmucks, and the Burats, 
although they have at all times occupied the regions close to 
Thibet, and have obviously derived their language from this 
quarter, are no longer confined to such an imperfect instrument 
of thought and communication as a monosyllabic language 
affords. They have inflexions and derivations, both for nouns 
and to express times. J The same observations are apphcable to 
the Mandshurs,§ or Mantchoos. 

The Japanese, too, another numerous people of Mongolian 

• Adelung; Milhridat&s, v. i. p. 18. t lb. p. 28. t lb. p. 504. 5 lb. p. 514. 


formation, have a well-formed polysyllabic language, without any 
resemblance to that of the Chinese.* 

The monosyllabic language of so large a portion of Asia appears 
the more remarkable, when it is contrasted with the languages 
of the native Americans, who in the form of the head, approach 
closely to the characters of the Mongolian variety. In the capa- 
bility of inflexion and composition, and in the consequent length 
of words.t many of the American tongues offer a complete con- 
trast to those of China, Thibet, &c. 

America is also distinguished from the old continent by the 
great number of its different languages. Mr. Jefferson X 
states that there are twenty radical languages in America for one 
in Asia. " More than twenty languages are still spoken in the 
kingdom of Mexico, most of which are at least as different from 
one another as the Greek and the German, or the French and 
Polish. The variety of idioms spoken by the people of the new 
continent, and which, without the least exaggeration, may be 
stated at some hundreds, offers a very striking phenomenon, 
particularly when we compare it to the few languages spoken in 
Asia and Europe." § 

The causes of these diversities, and the relations between the 
form and structure of the brain, the appetites, sentiments, moral 
and intellectual character, of the several human races, and the 
genius of their languages, are important subjects for future in- 
quiry. It will be sufficient to assert, in reference to the present 
subject, that no difference of language hitherto observed affords 
any argument against unity of the species. We can have no 
difficulty in arriving at this conclusion when we find, as in 
America, numerous completely distinct tongues in the several 
families of one great and, in all essential points, uniform race ; 
and when we discover, moreover, so strong a contrast as that 
which the monosyllabic languages of Asia and the complicated 
long words of so many American languages present, in nations 
whose organic traits are so similar. 

• Adelung ; Mithridates, v. i. p. 572. 

+ Humboldt informs us that notlazomahuiztespixcatatzin is the term of respect 
used by the Mexicans in addressing the priests. Political Essay, v. i. p. 139, note. 

t Aotes on T^irginia, p. 164. 

ii Political Essaij, v. 1. p. 1.38. This statement is corroborated by Vater, 
who observes that " in Mexico, where the causes producing insulation of the 
several tribes have been for a long time in a course of diminution, Clavigero 
recoguisedt hirty-five different languages [Saagin di Storia Americana, t. iii. 
append, ii. c. 3, p. 282). And those with which we are acquainted by ^^Titten 
accounts are quite radically distinct, and almost unconnected with each other." 
Mithridates, th. iii. p. 373. 



Differences in irioral and intellectual Qualities. 

After surveying and describing the diversities of bodily forma- 
tion exhibited in the various races of men, and alluding to a few 
physiological distinctions, we naturally proceed to a review of 
their moral and intellectual characters, to examine whether the 
latter exhibit such peculiarities as the numerous modifications 
of physical structure lead us to expect ; whether the appetites 
and propensities, the moral feelings and dispositions, and the 
capabilities of knowledge and reflection, are the same in all, or 
as different as the cerebral organs, of which they are the func- 
tions ? * If the physical frame and the moral and intellectual 
phenomena of man be entirely independent of each other, their 
deviations Avill exhibit no coincidence ; the noblest characters 
and most distinguished endowments may be conjoined with the 
meanest organization : if, on the contrary, the intellectual and 
moral be closely linked to the physical part, if the former be the 
offspring and result of the latter, the varieties of both must 
always correspond. 

The different progress of various nations in general civilization, 
and in the culture of the arts and sciences, the different characters 
and degrees of excellence in their literary productions, their 
varied forms of government, and many other considerations, 
con\ince us beyond the possibility of doubt, that the races of 
mankind are no less characterized by diversity of mental endow- 
ments, than by those differences of organization which I have 
already considered. So powerful, however, has been the effect 
of government, laws, education, and peculiar habits, in modifying 
the mind and character of men, that we experience great diffi- 
culty in distinguishing between the effects of original difference, 
and of the operation of these external causes. 

From entering at large and minutely into this interesting 

subject, I am as much prevented by want of the necessary 

information, as by the immediate object and limited length of 

these Lectures. To pass it over in silence would be omitting 

the most important part of the natural history of oiir species ; 

one of the most interesting views in the comparative zoology of 

man. I shall therefore submit a few remarks to illustrate the 

point of view in which the phenomena have appeared to myself, 

• See Lecturo IV. p. 73 and following, on the Functions of the Brain; Sec- 
tion I. Chap. IV. on the Characters of the Human Head; Chap. VI. on the 
Structure of the Brain; aiul Chap. VII. on the Mental Faculties of Man, 


and shall be happy if they incite any of my readers to a further 
prosecution of the inquiry. 

The distinction of colour between the white and black races 
is not more striking than the pre-eminence of the former in 
moral feelings and in mental endowments. The latter, it is 
true, exhibit generally a great acuteness of the external senses, 
which in some instances is heightened by exercise to a degree 
nearly incredible. Yet they indulge, almost universally, in dis- 
gusting debauchery and sensuality, and display gross selfish- 
ness, indifference to the pains and pleasures of others, insen- 
sibility to beauty of form, order, and harmony, and an almost 
entire want of what we comprehend altogether under the expres- 
sion of elevated sentiments, manly virtues, and moral feeling. 
Tlie hideous savages of Van Diemen's Land, of New Holland, 
New Guinea, and some neighbouring islands, the Negroes of 
Congo and some other parts, exhibit the most disgusting moral 
as well as physical portrait of man. 

Peron describes the wretched beings, Avhom he found on 
the shores of Van Diemen's Island, and of the neighbouring 
island Maria, as examples of the rudest barbarism : " without 
chiefs, properly so called, without laws or any thing like regular 
government, without arts of any kind, with no idea of agricul- 
ture, of the use of metals, or of the services to be derived from 
animals; without clothes or fixed abode, and with no other 
shelter than a mere shed of bark to keep off the cold south 
winds ; with no arms but a club and spear."* 

Although these and the neighbouring New Hollanders are 
placed in a fine climate and productive soil, they derive no other 
sustenance from the earth than a few fern-roots and bulbs of 
orchises ; and are often driven by the failure of their principal 
resource, fish, to the most revolting food, as frogs, lizards, ser- 
pents, spiders, the larvae of insects, and particularly a kind of 
large caterpillar found in groups on the branches of the euca- 
lyptus resinifera. They are sometimes obliged to appease the 
cravings of hunger by the bark of trees, and by a paste made by 
pounding together ants, their larvae, and fern-roots.f 

Their remorseless cruelty, their unfeeling barbarity to women 

and children, their immoderate revenge for the most trivial 

affronts, their want of natural affection, are hardly redeemed by 

the shghtest traits of goodness. When we add, that they are 

• Voyage de Decourertes aux Terres Australes ; t. i. chap. 20. 
t Collins, Account of the English Colony in A". S. Jf'ales. Appendix. See also 
TurnbuU's Voyage round the JVorld, second edition, ch. viii. 


quite insensible to distinctions of right and wrong, destitute of 
religion, without any idea of a Supreme Being, and with the 
feeblest notion, if there be any at aU, of a future state, the 
revolting picture is complete in all its features.* What an 
afflicting contrast does the melancholy truth of this description 
form to the eloquent but delusive declamations of Rousseau 
on the prerogatives of natural man and his advantages over his 
civilized brethren ! 

The same general character, with some softening, and some 
modifications, is applicable to most of the native Americans, of 
the Africans, and of the Mongolian nations of Asia ; to the 
Malays, and the greater part of the inhabitants of the numerous 
islands scattered in the ocean between Asia and America. In 
the most authentic descriptions we every where find proofs of 
astonishing insensibility to the pains and joys of others, even 
their nearest relations ; inflexible cruelty, selfishness and dis- 
position to cheat, a want of all sympathetic impulses and feel- 
ings, the most brutal apathy and indolence, unless roused by 
the pressure of actual physical want, or stimulated by the desire 
of revenge and the thirst of blood. Their barbarous treatment 
of women, the indiscriminate and unrelenting destruction of 
their warfare, the infernal torments inflicted on their captives, 
and the horrible practice of cannibalism, fill the friend of huma- 
nity by turns with pity, indignation, and horror. 

With the deep shades of this dismal picture some brighter 
spots are mingled, which it is a pleasing task to select and par- 

The inferiority of the dark to the white races is much more 
general and strongly marked in the powers of knowledge and 
reflection, the intellectual faculties, using that expression in its 
most comprehensive sense, than in moral feelings and disposi- 

* Mr. Collins, who had ample opportunities of observing this race, and who 
seems to have contemplated them with an unprejudiced mind, says, "lam 
certain that they do not worship sun, moon, or stars ; that, however necessary 
fire may be to them, it is not an object of adoration ; neither have they any 
respect for any beast, bird, or fish. I never could discover any object, either 
substantial orimaginary, that impelled them to thecommission of good act ions, 
or deterred them from the perpetration of what we deem crimes. There 
indeed existed among them some idea of a future state ; but not connected in 
any wise with religion ; for it had no influence whatever on their lives and 
actions." Lib. cit. p. 547. Whether they had any knowledge of right and 
wrong, was doubtful. They had words for good and bad, as applied to useful 
or hurtful objects. The sting-ray which they never ate, was bad, the kangaroo 
good. Their enemies were bad; their friends good; cannibalism was bad; 
when our people were punished for ill treating them, it was good. " IMidnight 
murders, though frequently practised among them, whenever revenge or 
passion were uppermost, they reprobated ; but applauded acts of kindness and 
Ijenerosity ; for of both these" they were capable." Ibid. 549 


tions. Many of the former, although little civilized, display an 
openness of heart, a friendly and generous disposition, the 
greatest hospitality, and an observance of the point of honour 
according to their own notions, from which nations more ad- 
vanced in knowledge might often take a lesson with advantage. 

Many of the Negroes possess a natural goodness of heart and 
warmth of affection : even the slave-dealers are acquainted with 
their differences in character, and fix their prices, not merely 
according to the bodily powers, but in proportion to the docility 
and good dispositions of their commodity, judging of these by 
the quarter from which they are procured. 

Although the Americans appeared so stupid to the Spaniards, 
that they were with some difficulty convinced of their being men 
and capable of becoming Christians (for which purpose a papal 
bull was necessary) ; and although this deficiency of Intellect is 
still attested by the more candid and impartial reports of modern 
travellers, the empires of Mexico and Peru show that some tribes 
at least were capable of higher destinies, and of considerable 
advancement in civilization. They were united under a regular 
government; they practised agriculture, and the other neces- 
sary arts of life, and were not entirely destitute of those which 
have some title to the name of elegant.* History and romance 

* The visionary notions of De Paauw {Recherches Philos. stir les Arnericains) 
antlBuffcn (Hist. Aaturelle ; Homme) concerning the imperfection and feeble- 
ness of animal life in America, too lightly adopted in many instances by 
Robertson {Hist, of America), have been amply exposed and "refuted, so far 
as the people themselves are concerned, by Count Carli, who has proved, by 
the clear testimonies of the original Spanish conquerors, that the Mexic9.ns 
and Peruvians defended themselves with the greatest bravery and resolution ; 
and that they had made considerable advances in knowlecTge, in the arts, in 
general civilization, and in government, at the time of the Spanish conquest. 
(See his Lcttere Americane, composing the Uth, 12th, 13th, and 14th volumes, 
of his Opere, lot. Milano, 1786: but particularly the two first.) The two 
fundamental truths of religion, the existence of God, and the immortality of 
the soul, were recognised in Peru (Lettere, t. i. 1. 7) ; and tlie knowledge of 
arithmetic and astronomy had been carried to a great extent ( A. t. ii. 1. 1. et 2). 
They had constructed considerable aqueducts, of which the remains are still 
to be seen, and numerous canals for irrigation, of which one is said to have 
been 1.30 leagues in length (t. i. p. 317). They were able to extract, separate, 
and fuse metals ; to give to copper the hardness of steel, for the fabrication of 
their weapons and instruments ; to make mirrors of this hardened copper or of 
hard stone ; to form images of gold and silver hollow within ; to cut the hardest 
precious stones with the greatest nicety ; to manufacture and dye cotton and 
wool, and work and figure the stuffs in various ways ; to spin and weave the 
fine hair of hares and rabbits into fabrics resembling and answering the pur'joses 
of silks {ibid. t. 1). The preceding statements are fully corrob"orated by the 
existing remains of these ancient arts, as seen and described by Ulloa, Bouguer, 
Condamine, and Humboldt. {Travels in South America, v. i. book 6, ch. II. 

Acad, des Sciences ; 1740, 1745. Vuedes Cordilleres, Monumens des Peuples, c^-e.t 
"The Toultees," says the latter author, "introduced the cultivation of maize 
and cotton ; they built cities, made roads, and constructed those great pyra- 
mids, which are yet admired, and of which the faces are very accurately'laid 
out. They knew the use of hieroglyphical paintings ; thev could found metal 
and cut the hardest stones ; and they had a solar year more perfect than that 
of the Greeks and Romans." Political Essay, book ii. ch. 6. 


have shed their glories round Manco Capac, the first sage 
and lawgiver, and the succeeding Incas or emperDrs of Peru, 
whose lives and exploits have been recorded by one of their own 
descendants on the female side, Garcilasso de la Vega, 
surnamed the Inca. 

In stating the moral and intellectual inferiority of the native 
Americans to the white races, I speak of an inferiority common 
to them with the other dark-coloured people of the globe ; and 
do not mean to adopt, in the smallest degree, the fanciful 
notions promulgated by some writers of the degeneracy of all 
animal nature in this vast continent. That the quadrupeds and 
other animals are deficient neither in size nor vigour is now 
well known; and though the- fables respecting the gigantic 
stature of the Patagonians have passed away, they still remain 
superior iifsize to any Asiatic or European race of men. There 
are some unconquered tribes equally conspicuous for the nobler 
attributes of our nature. The Araucans of Chili have success- 
fully maintained their independence against all the attacks 
of the Spaniards, and are well known in Europe by the epic 
poem of Ercilla, in which these contests are celebrated. In 
the interesting portrait, which Molina has lately drawn of their 
character, manners, customs, government, and history, we 
recognise in many points a strong resemblance to the ancient 
Germans, and a pleasing proof that all the natives of this new 
world are not doomed to mental inferiority. 

" The moral quality of the Araucans," says Molina, " are 
proportioned to their physical endowments ; they are intrepid, 
animated, ardent, patient in enduring fatigue, ever ready to 
sacrifice their lives in the service of their country, enthusiastic 
lovers of liberty, which they consider as an essential constituent 
of their existence, jealous of their honour, courteous, hospitable, 
faithful to their engagements, grateful for services rendered 
them, and generous and humane towards the vanquished."* 

The ninety f years' struggle which they maintained against 

the Spaniards, and by which they at last successfully established 

their independence, is more remarkable for its duration, for acts 

of desperate resolution and devotion to the great cause of 

liberty, and traits of individual heroism, than the contest between 

the Dutch and the Spaniards, the Swiss and the Austrians, or 

any ancient or modern analogous European case. 

* CivilHistury of Chili, y>. 59. Their strict integvitj- and high sense of honour 
in commercial dealings, are confirmed by the testimony of Ulloa; Travels in 
South America, v. ii. p. 276. + Ibid. p. 291. 


In the savage tribes of North America we often meet with 
lofty sentiments of independence, ardent courage, and devoted 
friendship, which would sustain a comparison with the most 
splendid similar examples in the more highly gifted races 
Honourable and punctual fulfilment of treaties and compacts, 
patient endurance of toil, hunger, cold, and all kinds of hard- 
ships and privations, inflexible fortitude, and unshaken perse- 
verance in avenging insults or injuries according to their own 
pecuUar customs and feelings, show that they are not destitute 
of the more valuable moral qualities. 

The Mongolian people differ very much in their docility and 
moral character. While the empires of China and Japan prove 
that this race is susceptible of civilization, and of great advance- 
ment in the useful and even elegant arts of life, and exhibit the 
singular phenomenon of political and social institutions between 
two and three thousand years older than the Christian era, the 
fact of their having continued nearly stationary for so many 
centuries, marks an inferiority of nature and a limited capacity 
m comparison to that of the white races. 

When the Mongolian tribes of central Asia have been united 
under one leader, war and desolation have been the objects of 
the association. Unrelenting slaughter, without distinction of 
condition, age, or sex, and universal destruction have marked 
the progress of their conquests, unattended with any changes 
or institutions capable of benefiting the human race, unmingled 
with any acts of generosity, any kindness to the A'anquished, or 
the slightest symptoms of regard to the rights and hberties of 
raankmd. The progress of Attila, Zingis, and Tamerlane, 
like the deluge, the tornado, and the hurricane, involved every 
thing in one sweeping ruin. 

In all the points which have been just considered, the white 
races present a complete contrast to the dark-coloured inha- 
bitants of the globe. While the latter cover more than half the 
earth's surface, plunged in a state of barbarism in which the 
higher attributes of human nature seldom make their appear- 
ance, strangers to all the conveniences and pleasures of advanced 
social life, and deeming themselves happy in escaping the 
immediate perils of famine ; the former, at least in this quarter 
of the world, either never have been in so low a condition, or, 
by means of their higher endo\vments, have so quickly raised 

* See Mr. Jefferson's eloquent vindication of the North .-American savages 
from the degrading picture djawn of them by Buffon. A'otes on Virginia. 


themselves from it, that we have no record of their existence as 
mere hunting or fishing tribes. In the oldest documents and 
traditions, which deserve any confidence, these nobler people 
are seen at least in the pastoral state, and in the exercise of 
agriculture, the practice of which is so ancient, that the remotest 
and darkest accounts have not preserved the name of the disco- 
verer, or the date of its introduction. No European people, 
therefore, have been in a condition comparable to that of the 
present dark-coloured races, within the reach of any history or 

The invention of arts and sciences in the East, and their sur- 
prising progress in Europe, are due to the white men. The 
comparatively national system of Heathenism contained in the 
Grecian mythology, with its elegant fables and allegories ; and 
the three religions, which exhibit the only worthy views of the 
Divinity, that is, Judaism, Christianity, and Mahometanism, all 
derive their birth from the same quarter. 

The Caucasian variety claims also the Persian Zoroaster ; 
and, if I mistake not, the founders of the religion of Bramah, 
who in the peninsula of India had signalized themselves by 
great advances in art and science in the very remotest antiquity. 

In the white races we meet, in full perfection, with true 
bravery, love of liberty, and other passions and virtues of great 
souls ; here only do these noble feelings exist in full intensity, 
while they are, at the same time, directed by superior know- 
ledge and reflection to the accomplishment of the grandest pur- 
poses. They alone have been as generous and mild towards 
the weak and the vanquished, as terrible to their enemies ; and 
have treated females with kindness, attention, and deference. 
Here alone are compassion and benevolence fully developed ; 
the feeling for the pains and distresses of others, and the active 
attempt to relieve them ; which, first exerted on our nearest 
connections, is extended to our countrymen in general, and 
embraces, ultimately, in its wishes and exertions, the interests 
of all mankind. 

The white nations alone have enjoyed free governments ; that 
is, not the lawless dominion of mere force, as in many barbarous 
tribes, but institutions recognising the equality of all in political 
rights, giving protection to the weak against the powerful, 
securing to all equal freedom of opinion and conscience, and 
administered according to laws framed with the consent of all. 
The spirit of liberty, the unconquerable energy of independence. 


the generous glow of patriotism have been known chiefly to 
those nobler organizations, in which the cerebral hemispheres 
have received their full development. The republics of Greece 
and Rome, of Italy in the middle ages, of Switzerland and Hol- 
land, the limited monarchy of England, and the United States 
of America, have shown us what the human race can effect, 
when animated by these sacred feelings ; without which nothing 
has been achieved truly great or permanently interesting. This 
is the charm that attaches us to the history, the laws, the insti- 
tutions, the literature of the free states of antiquity, and that 
enables us to study again and again, with, fresh pleasure, the 
lives and actions of their illustrious citizens. 

Even the more absolute forms of government have been 
conducted among the white races, with a respect to human 
nature, with a regard to law and to private rights, quite unkown 
to the pure despotisms, which seem to be the natural destiny of 
oiu- dark brethren. The monstrous faith of millions made for 
one has never been doubted or questioned in all the extensive 
regions occupied by human races with the anterior and superior 
parts of the cranium flattened and compressed. 

That these diversities are the offspring of natural differences, 
and not produced by external causes, is proA'ed by their univer- 
sality, whether in respect to time, place, or external influence. 

Some have found a convenient and ready solution in climate, 
but have not condescended to show, either by example or rea- 
soning, how climate can operate on the moral feelings and intel- 
lect, or that it has actually so operated in any instance. The 
native Americans are spread over that vast continent from the 
icy shores of the Arctic Ocean to the neighbourhood of the 
Antarctic Circle ; the Africans have a tolerably wide range in 
their quarter of the globe ; the Mongolian tribes cover a tract 
including every variety of climate from the coldest to the most 
warm. Yet, in such diversities of situation, the respective races 
exhibit only modifications of character. White people have 
distinguished themselves in all chmates ; ever}' where preserving 
their superiority. Two centuries have not assimilated the 
AnglcvAmericans to the Indian aborigines, nor prevented them 
from establishing in America the freest government in the 
world. A Washington and a Franklin prove that the noble 
qualities of the race have suffered no degeneracy by crossing 
the Atlantic. 

Accurate observers have found the hypothesis of chmate 


equally unsatisfactory in other parts of the world. " The phi- 
losophy which refers exclusively to the physical influence of 
cUmate, this most remarkable phenomenon of the moral world, is 
altogether insufficient to satisfy the rational inquirer ; the holy 
spirit of hberty was cherished in Greece and its Syrian colonies 
by the same sun which warms the gross and ferocious supersti- 
tion of the Mahommedan zealot : the conquerors of half the 
world issued from the scorching deserts of Arabia, and obtained 
some of their earliest triumphs over one of the most gallant 
nations of Europe (Spain). 

" A remnant of the disciples of Zoroaster, flying from 
Mahommedan persecution, carried with them to the western 
coast of India the religion, the hardy habits, and athletic forms 
of the north of Persia ; and their posterity may at this day be 
contemplated in the Parsees of the English settlement at Bom- 
bay, with mental and bodily powers absolutely unimpaired after 
the residence of a thousand years in that burning chmate. Even 
the passive but ill-understood character of the Hindoos, e.xhi- 
biting few and unimportant shades of distinction, whether 
placed under the snows of Imaus, or the vertical sun of the 
torrid zone, has, in every part of these diversified climates, been 
occasionally roused to achievements of valour, and deeds of des- 
])eration, not surpassed in the heroic ages of the western world. 
The reflections naturally arising from these facts are obviously 
sufficient to extinguish a flimsy and superficial hypothesis, 
which would measure the human mind by the scale of a 
Fahrenheit's thermometer."* 

White nations have kept up their character under every form 
of government. Science and literature have flourished in 
monarchies as well as in republics. Yet, let us never forget that 
the principal and the richest portion of our intellectual treasure 
consists of the literature and history of two nations of antiquity, 
whose astonishing superiority seems to have arisen principally 
from their having enjoyed freedom. 

The white nations may degenerate, as in the case of the 
Greeks and Romans ; but the qualities, which distinguished 
them in their proudest state, are still visible. The sena*e, the 
forum, and the capitol, which were trodden by SciPios, 
Brutuses, and Catos, by Pompey, C^sar, and Cicero, by 
Virgil, Horace, Livy, and Tacitus, have been long defiled 
by a vermin of priests and monks, of eunuchs and singers ■ the 
• Wilks, Hislarical Sketches of the South of India; v. i. pp. 33, 33. 


processions ana fooleries of a despicable superstition have suc- 
ceeded to the three hundred and twenty triumphs which gave 
to a small spot in Italy the command of the world, proclaiming 
conquests generally as beneficial to the conquered as glorious 
to the \'ictors. Italy altogether has groaned for centuries under 
the domestic fetters of monkery and priestcraft, and the still 
more galling yoke of foreign rule ; yet the classic ground has 
ever produced, and still continues to produce, men worthy of the 
race that realised and long maintained universal empire. What 
other people has sent forth, within the same period, or even in 
any wider range, men equal in force of genius and variety of 
excellence to the immortal names which Italy can boast even in 
her degradation; — to Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio; 
to Tasso, Ariosto, Metastasio, Alfieri ; to Galileo, 
Gassendi, and Torricelli; to Machiavel, Davila, 
Bentivoglio, and Guicciardini ; to Raphael, Michael 
Angelo, and a whole host of others ? 

The prerogatives of the white races may be equally distin- 
guished in the least advanced state of civilization. Compare the 
ancient Germans, as delineated by Tacitus and Caesar, with 
the savages of New Holland, with a horde of Hottentots, with a 
tribe of American Indians ; compare the ancient Spaniards, or 
Scandinavians, the Highland Scotch, or any Celtic people, to 
the African, American, or Mongolian tribes. 

A fair comparative experiment has been made of the white and 
red races in North America ; and no trial in natural philosophy 
has had a more xmequivocal and con'vincing result. The copper- 
coloured natives, although in all their original independence, 
have not advanced a single step in three hundred years ; neither 
example nor persuasion has induced them, except in very small 
number and few instances, to exchange the precarious supplies 
of the hunting and fishing state for agriculture and the other 
arts of settled life. A little ingenuity is manifested in making 
clothes, ornaments, arms ; and personal endurance of exertion, 
fatigue, and the cruelest torture, is carried to a great height. 
Even in war, in their eyes the first and most exalted of occu- 
pations, they show few traces of generous or honourable feel- 
ings. Bitter revenge and utter destruction are the motive and 
end. It is hardly necessary to draw the contrast. No English- 
man can be ignorant of the mighty empire founded by a handful 
of his countrymen in the wilds of America ; of its gigantic 
strides from the state of an insignificant colony, within forty 


short years of independence, to the rank of a first-rate power. 
No friend of humanity can be a stranger to the glorious prospect, 
to the energies of freedom, which vivify this new country. No 
human being, who is interested in the progress of his species, 
can refuse his tribute of admiration to this new world, which has 
established itself without the prejudices of the old ; — where reli- 
gion is in all its fervour, without needing an alliance with the 
state to maintain it ; where the law commands by the respect 
which it inspires, without being enforced by any military power. 

The superiority of the whites is universally felt and readily 
acknowledged by the other races. The most intelligent Negro, 
whom Mr. Park* met with, after witnessing only such evidences 
of European skill and knowledge, as the English settlement of 
Pisania afforded, and being acquainted with two or three Eng- 
lishmen, would sometimes appear pensive, and exclaim with an 
involuntary sigh, " Black men are nothing !" The narratives 
of travellers abound with similar traits. This consciousness best 
explains the fact of the Negroes generally submitting quietly 
to their state of slavery in the European colonies. If the rela- 
tions and the proportions of the population were reversed, and 
the European slaves were five, six, eight, or ten times as nume- 
rous as their Negro masters, how long would such a state of 
things last ? When the blacks form any plots, although their 
natural apathy and unvarying countenance are favourable to 
concealment, they always fail, through treachery or precipitation 
in commencing operations, or are disconcerted by any resolute 
opposition, even from very inferior numbers. 

Some will probably explain in a different manner these 
remarkable phenomena of the moral and intellectual world, 
which I have just been considering ; they will attempt to prove 
that these strongly-marked varieties may have been produced, 
in races formed originally with equal capabilities, by the external 
influences of civilization, education, government, religion, and 
perhaps other causes. To assert uniformity of bodily structure 
over the whole world would be too repugnant to the testimony 
of the senses : equality of mental endowments seems to me 
hardly a less extravagant tenet. There have, however, been 
philosophers who even held that all men are born with equal 
powers ; and that education and other accidental circumstances 
make the only difference between the wisest and the weakest 
of mankind. 

• Travels into the Interior Districts of Africa; 8vo. edition, p. 336. 


That cmlization, government, and education act very power- 
fully on the human race, is too obvious to be doubted ; but the 
question relates to the capabiUty of cix-ilization. Why have the 
white races invariably, and without one exception, raised them- 
selves to, at least some considerable height in the scale of cul- 
tivation ; while the dark, on the contrary, have almost as 
universally continued in the savage or barbarous state ? If we 
suppose that at any remote era, all mankind, in all quarters of 
the globe, were in the latter condition, what are the accidental 
circumstances which have prevented all the coloured varieties 
of man from raising themselves, and at the same time have 
assisted the progress of all the others ? If the nations in the 
north and west of Europe, when first conquered by the Romans, 
should he allowed (contrary, however, to historical proof) to 
have been in a state of barbarism not superior to that of the 
present rude tribes of Asia, Africa, or America, why have they 
advanced uninterruptedly to their present exalted pitch of cul- 
ture, while the latter remain plunged in their original rudeness 
and ignorance ? 

I do not mean to assert that all individuals and all tribes of 
dark-coloured men are inferior in moral and intellectual endow- 
ments to all those of the white division. The same gradations 
and modifications of structure and properties exist here as in 
other parts. Certainly we can produce examples enough in 
Europe of beings not superior to Hottentots and New Hol- 
landers : and individuals of considerable talents and knowledge 
are met with in savage tribes. There may not be much dif- 
ference between the lowest European community and the highest 
in some dark variety of man. Examples of individuals and of 
small numbers will therefore prove Uttle in this matter. 

I am aware also that all the white races have not made those 
signal advances in knowledge and civilization, of which I have 
spoken as indicating their superior endo^vments. Their organi- 
zation makes them capable of such distinctions, if circumstances 
are favourable, or rather if no obstacles exist. In the dark 
races, on the contrary, inferior organization renders it vain to 
present opportunities, or to remove difficulties. 

Loss of liberty, bad government, oppressive laws, neglected 
education, bigotry, fanaticism, and intolerance in religion, will 
counteract the noblest gifts of nature, will plunge into ignorance, 
degradation, and weakness, nations capable of the highest cul- 
ture, of the most splendid, moral, and intellectual achievements. 


Greece, Italy, and Spain bear melancholy testimony to this 
afflicting truth. Where are the brave republican Dutch, who 
first sustained a forty years' contest with Spain in the zenith of 
her power, when she could alarm all Europe by her ambitious 
schemes ; and who then contended with England for the domi- 
nion of the sea ? What causes the present feebleness of Turkey, 
%vhose very name is deemed almost synonymous with despotism 
and ignorance ? Careful observers can discern even in these 
victims of oppression and fanaticism, the germs of all the higher 
qualifications of our race, the evidences of those moral excel- 
lencies and intellectual powers, which require only a favourable 
opportunity to display themselves. It is generally allowed that 
the Turks are superior in natural qualifications to their con- 
querors the Russians, who enjoy over them the advantages of a 
government and religion * more favourable to the progress of 
knowledge and to individual security and happiness. 

Such are the results deducible from experience respecting the 
differences of moral feelings and intellectual power: having 
stated them strongly, I am anxious to express my decided opi- 
nion that these differences are not sufficient in any instance to 
warrant us in referring a particular race to an originally dif- 
ferent species. They are not greater in kind or degree than 
those which we see in many animals, as in horses, asses, mules, 
dogs, and cocks. I protest especially against the opinion, which 
either denies to the Africans the enjoyment of reason, or ascribes 
to the whole race propensities so vicious, malignant, and trea- 
cherous, as would degrade them even below the level of the 
brute. It can be proved most clearly, and the preceding obser- 
vations are sufficient for this purpose, that there is no circum- 
stance of bodily structure so peculiar to the Negro, as not to be 
found also in other far distant nations ; no character, which 
does not run into those of other races by the same insensible 
gradations as those which connect together all the varieties of 
mankind. I deem the moral and intellectual character of the 

* The unfavouraV)le influence of the Mahometan religion on intellectual 
culture has been exemplified by Mr. Fourier in the case of the Arabs. " If 
the Arabians, like the peoyle of the West, had possessed the inestimable 
advantage of a religion favourable to the arts and to useful knowledge, they 
would Viave cultivated and brought to perfection every branch of jihilosophy. 
At the commencement of their extraordinary career they were ingenious and 
polished; they made remarkable progress in poetry, architecture, medicine, 
geometry, natural history, and astronomy ; they preserved and transmitted to 
us many of those immortal works which were destined to aid the revival of 
learning in Europe. But the Mussulman religion was incompatible with this 
development of the mind ; the Arabs were exposed to the alternative of 
renouncmg their faith, or returning to the ignorance of their ancestors." 
Dcscriptiim de VE^yi'le, Prejacehistorique, p. 16. 


Negro inferior, and decirledly so, to that of the European ; and, 
as this inferiority arises from a corresponding difference of orga- 
nization, I must regard it as his natural destiny : but I do not 
consider him more inferior than the other dark races. I can 
neither admit the reasoning nor perceive the humanity of those 
who, after tearing the African from his native soil, carrying him 
to the West Indies, and dooming him there to perpetual slavery 
and labour, complain that his understanding shovvs no signs 
of improvement, and that his temper and disposition are incor- 
rigibly perverse, faithless, and treacherous. Let us, however, 
observe him in a somewhat more favourable state than in those 
dreadful receptacles of human misery, the crowded decks of the 
slave-ship, or in the less openly shocking, but constrained and 
extorted, and therefore painful labours of the sugar plantation. 

That the Negroes behave to others according to the treatment 
they receive, may be easily gathered from the best sources of 
information. They have not, indeed, reached that subUme 
height, the beau ideal of morality, the returning good for evil, 
probably because their masters have not yet found leisure 
enough from the pursuit of riches to instil into them the true 
spirit of Christianity. " The feelings of the Negroes (says an 
accurate observer) are extremely acute. According to the 
manner in which they are treated, they are gay or melancholy, 
laborious or slothful, friends or enemies. When well fed, and 
not maltreated, they are contented, joyous, ready for every 
enio}Tnent ; and the satisfaction of their mind is painted in their 
countenance. But, when oppressed and abused, they grow 
peevish, and often die of melancholy. Of benefits and abuse 
they are extremely sensible, and against those who injure them 
they bear a mortal hatred. On the other hand, when they 
contract an affection to a master, there is no office, however 
hazardous, which they will not boldly execute, to demonstrate 
their zeal and attachment. They are naturally affectionate, and 
have an ardent love for their children, friends and countr}Tnen. 
The little they possess they freely distribute among the neces- 
sitous, without any other motive than that of pure compassion 
for the indigent."* 

The travels of Barrow, Le Vaillant, and Mungo Park, 
abound with anecdotes honourable to the moral character of the 
Africans, and prove that they betray no deficiency in the amiable 
quaUties of the heart. One of these gives us an interesting 

* Histoire des Antilles, p. 483, 



portrait of the chief of a tribe : " His countenance was strongly 
marked with the habit of reflection ; vigorous in his mental, and 
amiable in his personal qualities, Gaika was at once the friend 
and ruler of a happy people, who universally pronounced his 
name with transport, and blessed his abode as the seat of felicity." 
Some European kings might take a lesson from this savage. 

Mr. Barrow gives a picture, by no means unpleasing, of the 
Hottentots. Their indolence probably arises from the state of 
subjection in which they live ; as the wild Bosjesmen are parti- 
cularly active and cheerful. 

" They are a mild, quiet, and timid people ; perfectly harmless, 
honest, faithful ; and though extremely phlegmatic, they are kind 
and afl'ectionate to each other, and not incapable of strong attach- 
ments. A Hottentot would share his last morsel with his com- 
])anions. They have little of that kind of art or cunning that 
savages generally possess. If accused of crimes, of which they 
have been guilty, they generally divulge the truth. They seldom 
quarrel among themselves, or make use of provoking language. 
Though naturally fearful, they will run into the face of danger 
if led on by their superiors. They suffer pain with patience. 
They are by no means deficient in talent." * 

"The Bosjesman, though in every respect a Hottentot, yet in 
his turn of mind differs very widely from those that live in the 
colony. In his disposition he is lively and cheerful ; in his person 
active. His talents are far above mediocrity ; and, averse to idle- 
ness, they are seldom without employment." f They are very 
fond of dancing, exhibit great industry and acuteness in their 
contrivances for catching game, and considerable mechanical 
skill in forming their baskets, mats, nets, arrows, &c. &c. % 

I see no reason to doubt that the Negro race, taken altogether, 
is equal to any in natural goodness of heart. It is consonant to 
our general experience of mankind, that the latter quality should 
be deadened or completely extinguished in the slaA'e-ship or 
plantation ; indeed, it is as little creditable to the heads as to the 
hearts of their white masters, to expect affection and fidelity from 
slaves after the treatment they too often experience. 

The acute and accurate Barbot, in his large work on Guinea, 
says, " The blacks have sufficient sense and understanding, their 
conceptions are quick and accurate, and their memory possesses 
extraordinary strength. For, although they can neither read nor 
write, they never fall into confusion or error in the greatest hurry 

• Travels in Southern Jfrica, v. i. p. 152. + Ih. p. 283. t lb. pp. 284—290. 


of business and traffic. Their experience of the knavery of 
Europeans has put them completely on their guard in transac- 
tions of exchange : they carefully examine all our goods, piece 
by piece, to ascertain if their quality and measure are correctly 
stated ; and show as much sagacity and clearness in aU these 
transactions, as any European tradesman could do." 

Of those imitative arts, in which perfection can be attained 
only in an improved state of society, it is natural to suppose that 
the Negroes can have little knowledge ; but the fabric and colours 
of the Guinea cloths are proofs of their native ingenuity ; and, 
that they are capable of learning all kinds of the more delicate 
manual labours, is proved by the fact, that nine-tenths of the 
artificers in the West Indies are Negroes. Many are expert 
carpenters, and some watchmakers. 

The drawings and busts executed by the wild Bosjesmen in 
the neighbourhood of the Cape are praised by Barrow* for 
their accuracy of outline and correctness of proportion. 

Negroes have been known to earn so much in America by 
their musical exertions, as to purchase their freedom with large 
sums. The younger Freidig in Vienna was an expert performer 
both on the violin and violincello ; he was also a capital drafts- 
man, and had made an excellent painting of himself. Mr. 
Edwards, t however, speaks very contemptuously of their 
musical talents in general : he says, " they prefer a loud and 
long-continued noise to the finest harmony ; and frequently con- 
sume the whole night in beating on a board with a stick." 

The capacity of the Negroes for the mathematical and physical 
sciences is proved by Hannibal, a colonel in the Russian 
artillery, and Lislet of the Isle of France, who was named a 
corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences, on 
account of his excellent meteorological observations. Fuller of 
Maryland, was an extraordinary example of quickness in reckon- 
ing. Being asked in a company, for the purpose of trying his 
powers, how many seconds a person had hved who was seventy 
years and some months old, he gave the answer in a minute and 
a half. On reckoning it up after him, a different result was 
obtained : " Have not you forgotten the leap years ? " says the 
Negro. This omission was supplied, and the number then agreed 
with his answer.^ 

Boerhaave and De Haen have given the strongest testi- 

• Travels, &c. v. i. p. 239—307. t Hist, of the West Indies, v. ii. p. 102. 

t Stedman's Surinam; v. ii. p. 270. Tliis circumstance is related on the 
authority of Dr. Rush, as having happened in his presence. 




mony that our black brethren possess no mean insight into prac- 
tical medicine ; and several have been known as very dexterous 
surgeons. A Negress of Yverdun is mentioned by Blumenbach 
as a celebrated midwife of real knowledge and an experienced hand. 

Omitting Madocks, a Methodist preacher, and not attempt- 
ing to envimerate all the Negroes who have written poems, I may 
mention . that Blumenbach possesses English, Dutch, and 
Latin poetry, by different Negroes. 

In 1734, A. W. Amo, an African, from the coast of Guinea, 
took the degree of Doctor at the university of Wittenberg ; and 
displayed according to Blumenbach, in two disputations, 
extensive and well-digested reading in the physiological books 
of the time.* 

Jac. Eliz. Joh. Capitein, who was bought by a slave- 
dealer when eight years old, studied theology at Leyden, and 
published several sermons and poems. His Dissertatio de Servi- 
tute Libertatl Christiance non contraria went through four editions 
very qviickly. He was ordained in Amsterdam, and went to 
Elmina on the Gold Coast, where he was either murdered, or 
exchanged for the life and faith of his countrymen those he had 
learned in Europe. 

Ignatius Sancho, and Gustavu.s Vasa, the former born 
in a slave-ship on its passage from Guinea to the West Indies, 
and the latter in the kingdom of Benin, have distinguished them- 
selves as literary characters in this country in modern times. 
Their works and lives are so well known, and so easily accessible, 
that it is only necessary to mention them. 

On reviewing these instances, which indeed must be received 
as exceptions to the general results of observation and experience 
respecting theNegro faculties, ImayobservewithBLUMENBACH, 
from whom some of them are borrowed, that entire and large 
provinces of Europe might be named, in which it would be diffi- 
cult to meet with such good writers, poets, philosophers, and 
correspondents of the French Academy. These insulated facts 
are not, however, adduced to prove that the African enjoys an 
equality of moral and intellectual attributes with the European 
race ; but merely to show, that of the dark-coloured people none 
have distinguished themselves by stronger proofs of capacity for 
literary and scientific cultivation, and consequently that none 
approach more nearly than the Negro to the polished nations of 
the globe. That the Ethiopian, taken altogether, is decidedly 

• Beytrcige zur Naturgeschichte ; Th. i. p. 98. 


inferior to the Caucasian variety in the qualities of the heart 
and of the head, will be soon recognised by any one who atten- 
tively weighs the representations of all unprejudiced and disin- 
terested observers respecting the conduct, capabilities, and 
character of the Africans, whether in their own country, in the 
West Indies, or in America ; and the continuance of the whole 
race, for more than twenty centuries, in a condition which, in 
its best forms, is little elevated above absolute barbarism, must 
give to this conviction the clear hght and full force of demonstra- 
tion. I cannot therefore admit, without some restriction and 
explanation, the quaint but humane expression of the preacher 
who called the Negro " God's image, hke ourselves, though 
carved in ebony." 

As the external influences of climate, soil, situation ; of way 
of life, degree of civihzation, habits, customs, form of govern- 
ment, religion, education, are manifestly inadequate to account 
for the very m^arked differences which at all times, in all coun- 
tries, and under all circumstances, have characterized the white 
and the dark races, and the various sub-divisions of each, we 
must look deeper for their causes, and seek them in some circum- 
stances inseparably interwoven in the original constitution of 
man. In conformity with the views already explained respecting 
the mental part of our being, I refer the varieties of moral feel- 
ing, and of capacity for knowledge and reflection, to those diver- 
sities of cerebral organization, which are indicated by, and 
correspond to the differences in the shape of the skull. If the 
nobler attributes of reside in the cerebral hemispheres ; if 
the prerogatives which lift him so much above the brute are 
satisfactorily accounted for by the superior development of those 
important parts ; the various degrees and kinds of moral feeling 
and of intellectual power may be consistently explained by the 
numerous and obvious differences of size in the various cerebral 
parts, besides which there may be peculiarities of internal orga- 
nization, not appreciable by our means of inquiry. Proceeding 
on these data, we shall find, in the comparison of the crania of 
the white and dark races, a sufficient explanation of the supe- 
riority constantly evinced by the former, and of the inferior 
subordinate let to which the latter have been irrevocably doomed. 

If examples can be adduced, either of nations having such a 
form of the brain and head, as that which characterizes the 
Caucasian variety of man, placed under favourable circumstances 
for the development of their moral and intellectual powers, and 


yet not advancing beyond the point which has been reached by 
the African or American tribes of the present time ; or of people, 
organized like the darlv varieties, and reaching, under any circum- 
stances, that degree of moral and intellectual cultivation which 
exist in the several polished countries of Europe, the preceding 
reasoning will be overturned : if no such instances can be brought 
forwards, the conclusion that the marked differences between 
the white and dark-coloured divisions of our species arise from 
original distinctions of organization, and not from adventitious 
circumstances remains unshaken. 

I cannot but respect the feelings of philanthropy, and the mo- 
tives of benevolence, which have prompted many of our country- 
men to exert themselves in behalf of the unenlightened and 
oppressed ; I cannot contemplate without admiration the heroic 
self-denial, and the generous devotion of those, who, foregoing 
the comforts, luxuries, and rational enjoyments of polished 
society, expose themselves to noxious climates and to all the 
perils of unknown countries, in order to win over the savage to 
the settled habits, the useful arts, and the various advantages of 
civilized life, to rescue him from the terrors of superstition, and 
bestow on him the inestimable blessings of mental culture and 
pure religion. But our expectations and exertions in this, as in 
other cases, must be limited by the natural capabilities of the 
subject. The retreating forehead and the depressed vertex of 
the dark varieties of man make me strongly doubt whether they 
are susceptible of these high destinies ; — whether they are capa- 
ble of fathoming the depths of science ; of understanding and 
appreciating the doctrines and the mysteries of our religion. 
These obstacles will, I fear, be too powerful for missionaries and 
Bible societies; for Bell and Lancaster schools. Variety 
of powers in the various races corresponds to the differences 
both in kind and degree, which characterize the individuals of 
each race ; indeed, to the general character of all nature, in 
which uniformity is most carefully avoided. To expect that the 
Americans or Africans can be raised by any culture to an equal 
height in moral sentiments and intellectual energy with Euro- 
peans, appears to me quite as unreasonable as it would be to hope 
that the bull-dog may equal the greyhound in speed ; that tlie 
latter may be taught to hunt by scent like the hound ; or that 
the mastiff may rival in talents and acquirements the sagacious 
and docile poodle. 



On the Causes nf the Varieties of the Human Species. 

Having examined the principal points in which the sevei-al 
tribes of the human species differ from each other ; namely, the 
colour and texture of the skin, hair, and iris, the features, the 
skull and brain, the forms and proportions of the body, the 
stature, the animal economy, the moral and intellectual powers, 
I proceed to inquire whether the diversities enumerated under 
these heads are to be considered as characteristic distinctions co- 
eval with the origin of the species, or as the result of subsequent 
variation ; and, in the event of the latter supposition being 
adopted, whether they are the effect of external physical and 
moral causes, or of native or congenital variety. The very nu- 
merous gradations, which we meet with, in each of the points 
above mentioned, are an almost insuperable objection to the 
notion of specific difference ; for all of them may be equally 
referred to original distinction of species ; yet if we admit this, 
the number of species would be overwhelming. On the other 
hand, the analogies drawn from the animal kingdom, and 
adduced under each head, nearly demonstrate that the character- 
istics of the various human tribes must be referred, like the cor- 
responding diversities in other animals, to variation. Again, I 
have incidentally brought forward several arguments to prove 
that external agencies, whether physical or moral, will not 
account for the bodily and mental difierences, which characterize 
the several tribes of mankind ; and that they must be accounted 
for by the breed or race.* This subject, however, requires fur- 
ther illustration. 

The causes which operate on the bodies of living animals 
either modify the individual, or alter the offspring. The former 
are of great importance in the history of animals, and produce 
considerable alterations in individuals ; but the latter are the 
most powerful, as they affect the species, and cause the diversi- 
ties of race. Great influence has at all times been ascribed to 
climate, which indeed has been commonly, but very loosely and 
indefinitely represented as the cause of most important modifi- 
cations in the human subject and in other animals. Differences 
of colour, stature, hair, features, and those of moral and intel- 
lectual character, have been alike referred to the action of this 

• See sect. ii. chap. ii. p. 203, and following ; chap. iv. p. 263, and following ; 
chap. vi. p. 301. 


mysterious cause ; without any attempt to show which of the 
circumstances in the numerous assemblage comprehended under 
the word climate produces the effect in question, or any indica- 
tion of the mode in which the point is accomplished. That the 
constitution of the atmosphere varies in respect to light and 
heat, moisture, and electricity; and that these variations, with 
those of elevation, soil, winds, vegetable productions, will operate 
decidedly on individuals, I do not mean to deny. While, however, 
we have no precise information on the kind or degree of influence 
attributable to such causes, we have abundance of proof that they 
are entirely inadequate to account for the differences between 
the various races of men. I shall state one or two changes 
which seem fairly referable to climate. 

The whitening (blanching or etiolation) of vegetables, when 
the sun's rays are excluded, demonstrates the influence of those 
rays on vegetable colours. Nor is the effect merely superficial : 
it extends to the texture of the plant, to the taste and other 
properties of its juices. Men much exposed to the sun and air, 
as peasants and sailors, acquire a deeper tint of colour than 
those who are more covered ; and the tanning of the skin by 
the summer sun in parts of the body exposed to it, as the face 
and hands, is a phenomenon completely analogous. The ruddy 
and tawny hues of those who live in the country, particularly of 
labourers in the open air, and the pale sallow countenances of 
the inhabitants of towns, of close and dark workshops and 
manufactories, owe their origin to the enjoyment or privation of 
sun and air. Hence, men of the same race are lighter or darker 
coloured according to the climate which they inhabit, at least 
in those parts which are uncovered. The native hue of the 
Moors is not darker than that of the Spaniards, of many French, 
and some English ; but their acquired tint is so much deeper, 
that we distinguish them instantly. How swarthy do the Euro- 
peans become who seek their fortunes under the tropic and 
equator, and have their skins parched by the burning suns of 
" Afric and of either Ind !" 

Mr. Edwards represents that the Creoles in the English 
West-Indian islands are taller than Europeans ; several being 
six feet four inches high ; and that their orbits are deeper.* 

It has been generally observed by travellers, that the Euro- 
pean population of the United States of North America is tall, 
and characterized by a pale and sallow countenance. The latter 

• History of the IVest Indies, v, ii. p. 11, 


eiFect is commonly produced in natives of Europe when they 
become resident in warm cUmates. That both sexes arrive 
earlier at puberty, and that the mental powers of children are 
sooner developed in warm than in cold countries, are facts 
familiarly known. 

The prevalence of light colours in the animals of polar and 
cold regions may, perhaps, be ascribed to the influence of cli- 
mate ; the isatis or arctic fox, the polar bear, and the snow- 
bunting, are striking instances. The same character is also 
remarkable in some species, which are more dark-coloured in 
warmer situations. This opinion is strengthened by the ana- 
logy of those animals which change their colour in the same 
country, at the winter season, to white or gray, as the ermine 
(mustela erminea), and weasel (m. nivalis), the varying hare, 
squirrel, reindeer, white game (tetrao lagopus), and snov/-bunt- 
ing (emberiza nivalis).* Pallas observes, " that even in 
domestic animals, as horses and cows, the winter coat is of a 
lighter colour than the smoother covering which succeeds it in 
the spring. This difference is much more considerable in wild 
animals. I have shown instances of it in two kinds of ante- 
lope (saiga and gutturosa), in the musk animal (moschus mos- 
chifer), and in the equus hemionus. The Siberian roe, which 
is red in summer, becomes of a grayish white in winter ; wolves 
and the deer kind, particularly the elk and the reindeer, become 
light in the winter ; the sable (m. zibellina), and the martin 
(.ra. martes), are browner in summer than in winter. "f 

Although these phenomenon seem obviously connected with 
the state of atmospherical temperature, and hence the change of 
colovu-, which the squirrel and the mustela nivalis undergo in 
Sil)eria and Russia, does not take place in Germany ; X we do 
not understand the exact nature of the process by which it is 
effected ; and cold certainly appears not to be the direct cause. 
For the varying hare, though kept in warm rooms during the 
winter, gets its white winter covering only a little later than 
usual ;§ and in all the animals in which this kind of change 
takes place, the winter coat, which is more copious, close and 
downy, as v/ell as lighter coloured, is found already far advanced 
in the autumn, before the cold sets in. || 

• Linneus. Flora Lapponica ; ed. of Smith, pp. 35, 3.53. 

t Nova; Species Qtiadrupedum, p. 7. 

t Ihid. p. 6, note h. The ermine ehan^^es its colour in tlie winter in Ger- 
many ; but Pallas states, on the faith of autRcient testimony, that it does not 
undergo this c-hange in the more southern districts of Asia and Persia. 

§ KoTCB Species Quadnipedum, p. 7. Hid, p. g^ 

Q 3 



The coverings of animals, as well as their colour, seem to be 
modified in many cases by climate ; but as the body is naked 
in the human subject, and as the hair of the head cannot be 
regarded in the same light as the fur, wool, or hair which covers 
the bodies of animals generally, the analogies offered by the 
latter are not very directly applicable to the present subject. 

In cold regions the fur and feathers are thicker, and more 
copious, so as to form a much more effectual defence against 
the climate than the coarser and rarer textures which are seen 
in warm countries. The thick fleece of the dogs lately brought 
from Baffin's Bay, exemplifies this observation very completely. 
The wool of the sheep degenerates into a coarse hair in Africa ; 
where we meet also with dogs quite naked, with a smooth and 
soft skin. 

Whether the goat furnishing the wool from which the shawls 
of Cashmere are manufactured, is of the same species with that 
domesticated in Europe, and whether the prodigious difference 
between the hairy growth of the tu'o animals is due to diversity 
of climate, are points at present uncertain. Neither do we know 
whether the long and silky coat of the goat, cat, sheep, and 
rabbits of Angora can be accounted for by the operation of this 
cause : it is at least worthy of notice, that this quality of the 
hair should exist in so many animals of the same country. It 
continues when they are removed into other situations, and is 
transmitted to the offspring ; so that we may, probably, regard 
these as permanent breeds. 

It is well known that the qualities of the horse are inferior in 
France to those of neighbouring countries. According to Buf- 
FON, Spanish or Barbary horses, when the breed is not crossed, 
become French horses sometimes in the second generation, and 
always in the third.* Since the climate of England, which 
certainly does not approach more nearly to that of the original 
abode of this animal, than that of France, does not impede the 
development of its finest forms and most excellent qualities, we 
may, perhaps, with greater probability, refer the degeneracy of 
the French horses to neglect of the breed. We know that the 
greatest attention to this point is necessary, in order to prevent 
deterioration in form and spirit. 

Differences in food might be naturally expected to produce 
considerable corresponding modifications in the animal body. 
Singing birds, chiefly of the lark and finch kinds, are known to 

* Vol. iv. r- 106. 


become gradually black, if they are fed on hemp-seed only.* 
Horses fed on the fat marshy grounds of Friesland grow to a 
large size ; while, on stony soils or dry heaths, they remain 
dwarfish. Oxen become very large and fat in rich soils, but 
are distinguished by shortness of the legs ; while, in drier situa- 
tions, their whole bulk is less, and the limbs are stronger and 
more fleshy. The quantity of food has great influence on the 
bulk and state of health of the human subject ; but the quality 
seems to have less power ; and neither produces any of those 
differences which characterizes races. 

In all the changes which are produced in the bodies of animals 
by the action of e.xternal causes, the effect terminates in the 
individual ; the offspring is not in the slightest degree modified 
by them,f but is born with the original properties and consti- 
tution of the parents, and a susceptibility only of the same 
changes when exposed to the same causes. 

The change in the colour of the human skin, from exposure 
to sun and air, is ob^aously temporary ; for it is diminished and 
even removed, when the causes no longer act. The discoloura- 
tion, which we term tanning, or being sun-burnt, as well as the 
spots called freckles, are most incidental to fair skins, and dis- 
appear when the parts are covered, or no longer exposed to the 
sun. The children of the husbandman, or of the sailor, whose 
countenance bears the marks of other climes, are just as fair as 
those of the most delicate and pale inhabitants of a city : naj', 
the Moors, who have lived for ages under a burning sun, still 
have white children ; and the offspring of Europeans in the 
Indies have the original tint of their jirogenitors. 

Blumenbach has been led into a mistake on this point by 
an English author, J who asserts that Creoles are born with 
a different complexion and cast of countenance from the chil- 
dren of the same parents brought forth in Europe. In oppo- 
sition to this statement from one M'ho had not seen the facts, I 
place the aifthority of Long, a most respectable eye-witness, 
who, in his History of Jamaica, affirms, that "the children born 
in England have not, in general, loveher or more transparent 
• Der Naturforscher, pt. i. p. 1 ; pt. ix. p. 22. 

+ When the foetus in utero has small-pox or syphilis, there is actual com- 
munication of disease by the fluids of the mother. This is a case altogether 
diflerent from those under consideration. Neither does hereditary predispo- 
sition to particular diseases prove that acquired conditions are transmitted to 
the offspring. There are natural varieties of organization, disposing diflerent 
individuals to different diseases on application of the same external causes. 
These natural varieties, like those of form, colour, and other obvious proper- 
ties, are continued to the children. 
t Hawkesworth, in Collecticm of Voyages, v. iii. p. 374. 


skins than the offspring of white parents in Jamaica." The 
" austrum spirans vultus et color," which the above-mentioned 
acute and learned naturalist ascribes to the Creole, is merely 
the acquired effect of the climate, and not a character existing 
at birth. 

"Nothing," says Dr. Pritchard,* "seems to hold true 
more generally, than that all acquired conditions of body, whe- 
ther produced by art or accident, end with the life of the indi- 
vidual in whom they are produced. Many nations mould their 
bodies into unnatural forms ; the Indians flatten their foreheads ; 
the Chinese women reduce their feet to one-third of their natural 
dimensions ; savages elongate their ears ; many races cut away 
the prepuce. We frequently mutilate our domestic animals by 
removing the tail or ears, and our own species are often obliged 
by disease to submit to the loss of limbs. That no deformity, 
or mutilation of this kind is hereditary, is so plainly proved by 
every thing around us, that we must feel some surprise at the 
contrary opinion having gained any advocates. After the ope- 
ration of circumcision has prevailed for three or four thousand 
years, the Jews are still born with prepuces, and still obliged to 
submit to a painful rite. Docked horses and cropped dogs 
bring forth young with entire ears and tails. But for this salu- 
tary law, what a frightful spectacle would every race of animals 
exhibit ! The mischances of all preceding times would over- 
whelm us with their united weight, and the catalogue would be 
continually increasing, until the universe, instead of displaying 
a spectacle of beauty and pleasure, would be filled with maimed, 
imperfect, and monstrous shapes." 

It is obvious that the external influences just considered, even 
though we should allow to them a much greater influence on 
individuals than experience warrants us in admitting, v/ould be 
still entirely inadequate to account for those signal diversities, 
which constitute differences of race in animals. These can be 
explained only by two principles already mentioned ;f namely, 
the occasional production of an offspring with different charac- 
ters from those of the parents, as a native or congenital variety ; 
and the propagation of such varieties by generation. It is impos- 
sible, in the present state of physiological knowledge, to show 
how this is effected ; to explain why a gray rabbit or cat some- 
times brings forth at one birth, and from one father, yellow, 
black, white, and spotted young ; why a white sheep sometimes 

• Disp. inaug. t Sec pp. 203 aad fyllowing; 2D9 and following. 


has a black lamb ; or why the same parents at different times 
have leucaethiopic children, and others with the ordinary forma- 
tion and characters. 

The state of domestication, or the artificial mode of life, which 
they lead under the influence of man, is the most powerful 
cause of varieties in the animal kingdom. Wild animals, using 
always the same kind of food, being exposed to the action of 
the climate without artificial protection, choose, each of them, 
according to its nature, their zone and country. Instead of 
migrating and extending, like man, they continue in those places 
which are the most friendly to their constitutions. Hence, 
their nature undergoes no change ; their figure, colour, size, 
proportions, and properties, are unaltered ; and consequently 
there is no difficulty in determining their species. Nothing can 
form a stronger contrast to this uniformity of specific character 
than the numerous and marked varieties in those kinds which 
have been reduced by man. To trace back our domestic animals 
to their v/ild originals is in all cases difficult, in some impossible ; 
long slavery has so degraded their nature, that the primitive 
animal may be said to be lost, and a degenerated being, running 
into endless varieties, is substituted in its place. The wild ori- 
ginal of the sheep is even yet uncertain. Buffon conceived 
that he discovered it in the mouflon or argali (ovis ammon) : 
and Pallas, who had an opportunity of studying the latter 
animal, adds the weight of his highly respectable authority to 
the opinion of the French naturalist. Yet Blumenbach 
regards the argali as a distinct species. Should we allow the 
latter to be the parent of our sheep, and consequently admit 
that the differences are explicable by degeneration, no difficulty 
can any longer exist about the unity of the human species. An 
incomplete horn of the argali, in the Academical ^Museum at 
Gottingen, weighs nine pounds.* 

" Let us compare," says Buffon, " our pitiful sheep with 
the mouflon, from which they derived their origin. Tlie mouflon 
is a large animal. He is fleet as a stag, armed with horns and 
thick hoofs, covered with coarse hair, and dreads neither the 
inclemency of the sky nor the voracity of the wolf. He not only 
escapes from his enemies by the swiftness of his course, and 
scahng, %vith truly wonderful leaps, the most frightful preci- 
pices ; but he resists them by the strength of his body and the 
solidity of the arms with which his head and feet are fortified. 

• Blumenbach, Ilandhuch dor Js'aturgeschichie, p. Ill, note. 


How different from our sheep, which subsist with difficulty in 
flocks, who are unable to defend themselves by their numbers, 
who cannot endure the cold of our winters without shelter, and 
who would all perish if man withdrew his protection ! So com- 
pletely are the frame and capabilities of this animal degraded by 
his association with us, tiiat it is no longer able to subsist in a 
wild state, if turned loose, as the goat, pig, and cattle are. In 
the warm climates of Asia and Africa, the mouflon, who is the 
common parent of all the races of this species, appears to be less 
degenerated than in any other region. Though reduced to a 
domestic state, he has preserved his stature and his hair ; but 
the size of his horns is diminished. Of all domestic sheep, 
those of Senegal and India are the largest, and their nature has 
Buffered least degradation. The sheep of Barbary, Egypt, Arabia, 
Persia, Tartary, &c. hav^e undergone greater changes. In rela- 
tion to man, they are improved in some articles, and vitiated in 
others ; but with regard to nature, improvement, and degene- 
ration, are the same thing ; for they both imply an alteration of 
original constitution. Their coarse hair is changed into fine 
wool. Their tail, loaded with a mass of fat, and sometimes 
reaching the weight of forty jjounds, has acquired a magnitude 
so incommodious, that the animals trail it with pain. While 
swollen with superfluous matter, and adorned with a beautiful 
fleece, their strength, agility, magnitude, and arms are dimi- 
nished. These long-tailed sheep are half the size only of the 
mouflon. They can neither fly from danger, nor resist the 
enemy. To preserve and multiply the species, they require the 
constant care and support of man. The degeneration of the 
original species is still greater in our climates. Of all the quali- 
ties of the mouflon, our ewes and rams have retained nothing 
but a small portion of vivacity, which yields to the crook of the 
shepherd. Timidity, weakness, resignation, and stujsidity, are 
the only melancholy remains of their degraded nature."* 

Tlie pig-kind afford an instructive example, because their 
descent is more clearly made out than that of many other 
animals. The dog, indeed, degenerates before our eyes ; but it 
\\'ill hardly ever, perhaps, be satisfactorily ascertained whether 
there is one or more species. The extent of degeneration can 
be observed in the domestic swine ; because no naturalist has 
hitherto been sceptical enough to doubt whether they descended 
from the wild boar ; and they were certainly first introduced by 

* Buflon, by Wood, v. iv. p. 7. 


the Spaniards into the new world. The pigs conveyed in 1 509, 
from Spain to the West Indian island Cubagua, then celebrated 
for the pearl fishery, degenerated into a monstrous race with 
toes half a span long.* Those of Cuba became more than twice 
as large as their European progenitors.f How remarkably again 
have the domestic swine degenerated from the wild ones in the 
old world : in the loss of the soft do\vny hair from between the 
bristles, in the vast accumulation of fat under the skin, in the 
form of the cranium, in the figure and growth of the whole body. 
The varieties of the domestic animal too are very numerous : 
in Piedmont they are almost invariably black ; in Bavaria reddish- 
brown ; in Normandy white, &c. The breed in England, with 
straight back and large pendulous belly, is just the reverse of 
that in the north of France, with high convex spine and hanging 
head : and both are diflFerent from the German breed ; to say 
nothing of the solidungular race found in herds in Hungary 
and Sweden, and already known by Aristotle, and many other 

The ass, in its wild state, is remarkably swift and lively, and 
still continues so in his native Eastern abode. 

The original stock cf our poultry cannot be determined, nor 
can the varieties into which they have run be enumerated. No 
wild bird in our climates resembles the domestic cock ; the 
pheasant, grouse, and cock of the woods, are the only analogous 
kinds ; and it is uncertain whether these would intermix and 
have prolific progeny. They have constituted distinct and sepa- 
rate species from the earliest times, and they want the combs, 
spurs, and pendulous membranes of the gallinaceous tribes. X 

There are twentj^-nine varieties of canary-birds known by 
name, aU produced from the gray bird. § 

Most of the mammalia, which have been tamed by man, betray 
their subjugated state b.y having the ears and tail pendulous ; a 
condition of the former parts, which, I beheve, belongs to no wild 
animal. In many, the very functions of the body, as the secre- 
tions, generation, &c. are greatly changed. See the examples 
mentioned in Chap. VI. p. 304. 

Tlie application of these facts to the question concerning the 

human species is very obvious. If new characters are produced 

in the domesticated animals, because they have been taken from 

their primitive condition, and exposed to the operation of many, 

• Herrera, Hcchos de los Castellanos en las Islas, S(c. v. i. p. 239. 

+ Clavigero, Storia antica del Messico, v. iv. p. 145. 

X Buffun, V. xii. i>, 112. \ Ibid, v. xir. p. 61. 


to them unnatural causes ; if the pig is remarkable among these 
for the number and degree of its varieties, because it has been 
the most exposed to causes of degeneration ; we shall be at no 
loss to account for the diversities in man, who is, in the true, 
though not ordinary sense of the word, more of a domesticated 
animal than any other. We know the wild state of most of 
them, but we are ignorant of the natural wild condition to which 
man was destined. Probably there is no such state, because 
nature, having limited him in no respect, having fitted him for 
every kind of life, every climate, and every variety of food, has 
given him the whole earth for his abode, and both the organised 
kingdoms for his nourishment. Yet, in the wide range through 
which the scale of human cultivation extends, we may observe a 
contrast between the two extremities, analogous to that which is 
seen in the wild and tamed races of animals. Tlie savage may 
be compared to the former, which range the earth uncontrolled 
by man ; civilised people to the domesticated breeds of the same 
species, whose diversities, form, and colour are endless. "Whether 
we consider the several nations, or the individuals of each, bodily 
differences are much more numerous in the highly civilised 
Caucasian variety, than either of the other divisions of mankind. 
Such, then, are causes by which the varieties of man may be 
accounted for. Although I have acknowledged my entire igno- 
rance of the manner in which these operate, I have proved that 
they exist, and have shown by copious analogies, that they are 
sufficient to explain the phenomena. The tendency, under certain 
circumstances, to alterations of the original colour, form, and 
other properties of the body, and the law of transmission to the 
offspring, are the sources of varieties in man and animals, and 
thereby modify the species ; climate, food, way of life, in a word, 
all tbe physical and moral causes that surround us, act indeed 
powerfully on the individual, but do not change the offspring, 
except in the indirect manner just alluded to. We should, there- 
fore, openly violate the rules of philosophising, which direct us 
to assign the same causes for natural effects of the same kind, 
and not to admit more causes than are sufficient for explaining 
the phenomena, if we recurred, for the purpose of explaining 
the varieties of man, to the perfectly gratuitous assumption of 
originally different species, or called to our aid the operation of 
climate, and other external influences. 

Yet, if it be allowed that all men are of the same species, it 
does not foUow that they all descend from the same family. We 


have no data for determining this point : it could indeed only be 
settled by a knowledge of facts, which have been long ago in- 
volved in the impenetrable darkness of antiquity. 

By the inteUigent and learned writers on the varieties of 
mankind, their production has been explained in a different 
maiiiicr from that which has been just attempted; they have 
solved the problem entirely by the operation of adventitious 
causes, such as climate, particularly the light and heat of the 
sun, food, and mode of life. These, it is said, acting on men 
originally alike, produce various bodily diversities, and affect the 
colour of the skin especially ; such alterations, transmitted to 
the offspring, and gradually increased through a long course of 
ages, are supposed to account sufficiently for all the differences 
observed at present in the inhabitants of the different regions of 
the globe. If we were disposed to submit, in this question, to 
authority, the number and celebrity of the philosophers,* who 
have contended for the influence of climate, and other physical 
and moral causes, would certainly compel our assent to theii 
opinions. Our respect for their talents and labours will be suf- 
ficiently marked if we enter into a closer examination of the 
arguments which they have adduced on this subject. 

That solar heat causes blackness of the skin is an ancient 
opinion, and must have appeared very probable, when the Negro 
natives of the torrid zone were the only black people known. 
" Ethiopas," says Pliny, " vicini sideris vapore torreri, adustis- 
que similes gigni, barba et capillo vibrato, non est dubium."f 

" The heat of the climate," says Buffon, " is the chief cause 
of blackness among the human species. When this heat is 
excessive, as in Senegal and Guinea, the men are perfectly black ; 
when it is a little less violent, the blackness is not so deep ; 
when it becomes somewhat temperate, as in Barbary, Mongoha, 
Arabia, &c. mankind are only brown ; and lastly, when it is alto- 
gether temperate, as in Europe and Asia, men are white. Some 
varieties, indeed, are produced by the mode of living. All the Ta- 
tars (Mongols) for example, are tawny; while the Europeans, who 
live under the same latitude, are white. This difference may 
safely be ascribed to the Tatars being always exposed to the air, 
to their having no cities or fixed habitations, to their sleeping 

• Amon? tliem are Buffon, Blumenbaih, Smith [Essay on the Causes of the 
Variety of Comidexion and Figure in the Human Species, Philadelpliia. ) Zimraer- 
mann ( Geogra/ihisi-he Ge&chiclite dcs Mcnschen., ^c.) ; and Forster {Ohservalions 
made during a Voyage round the JVorld; chaij. vi. sec. 3). The arguments of 
tliosp writers are very ably combated by Dr. Prichard in his Researches into 
the Physical History if Man. t Hist. Nat. lib. ii. 80. 


constantly on the ground, and to their rough and savage nvan- 
ner of living. These circumstances are sufficient to render the 
Tatars more swarthy than the Europeans, who want nothing to 
make life easy and comfortable. Why are the Chinese fairer 
than the Tatars, though they resemljle them in every feature ? 
Because they are more jwlished ; because they live in towns, 
and practise every art to guard themselves against the injuries 
of the weather ; while the Tatars are perpetually exposed to the 
action of the sun and air. 

" Chmate may be regarded as the cause of the different colours 
of men : but food, though it has less influence than colour, 
greatly aflfects the form of our bodies. Coarse, unwholesome, 
and ill-prepared food makes the human species degenerate. AU 
those people who live miserably, are ugly and ill-made. Even 
in France, the country people are not so beautiful as those v/ho 
live in towns : and I have often remarked, that in those villages 
where the people are richer and better fed than in others, the 
men are likewise more handsome, and have better countenances. 
The air and the soil have great influence on the figures of men, 
beasts, and plants. 

" Upon the whole, every circumstance concurs in proving 
that mankind are not composed of species essentially different 
from each other ; that, on the contrary, there was originally but 
one species, which, after multiplying and spreading over the 
whole surface of the earth, has undergone various changes by the 
influence of climate, food, mode of living, epidemic diseases, 
and mixture of dissimilar individuals ; that, at first, these changes 
were not so conspicuous, and produced only individual varieties ; 
that these varieties became afterwards more specific, because 
they were rendered more general, more strongly marked, and 
more permanent, by the continual action of the same causes ; 
that they are transmitted from generation to generation, as de- 
formities or diseases pass from parents to children ; and that, 
lastly, as they were originally produced by a train of external and 
accidental causes, and have only been perpetuated by time, and 
the constant operation of these causes, it is probable that they 
will gradually disappear, or, at least, that they will differ from 
what they are at present, if the causes which produced them 
should cease, or if their operation should be varied by other cir- 
cumstances and combinations."* 

" In tracing the globe," says Smith, " from the pole to the 
• JVaiural Hintory, by Wood, v. iii. pp. 443 — 446. 


equator, we observe a gradation in the complexion, nearly in 
proportion to the latitude of the country. Immediately below 
the arctic circle, a high and sanguine colour prevails : from this 
you descend to the mixture of red and vi'hite : afterwards suc- 
ceed the brown, the olive, the tawny, and at length, the black, as 
you proceed to the line. The same distance from the sun, how- 
ever, does not, in every region, indicate the same temperature of 
climate. Some secondary causes must be taken into considera- 
tion, as correcting and limiting its influence. The elevation of 
the land, its vicinity to the sea, the nature of the soil, the state 
of cultivation, the course of winds, and many other circum- 
stances, enter into this view. Elevated and mountainous coun- 
tries are cool, in proportion to their altitude above the level of 
the sea," &c. &c.* 

Blumexbach informs us how climate operates in modifying 
the colour of the skin, but does not attempt to explain its effects 
on the stature, proportions, and other points. He states that 
the proximate cause of the dark colour of the integuments is an 
abundance of carbone, secreted by the skin with hydrogen, pre- 
cipitated and fixed in the rete mucosum by the contact of the 
atmospheric oxygen.f He observes further, that this abundance 
of carbone is most distinctly noticeable in persons of an antrabi- 
larious temperament ; which fact, together with many others, 
proves the intimate connection between the biliary and the cuta- 
neous organs ; that hot climates exert a very signal influence on 
the liver ; and thus that an imnatural state of the biliary secre- 
tion, produced by heat, and increased through many generations, 
causes the vessels of the skin to secrete that abundance of car- 
bone, which produces the black colour of the Negro. J 

If any one can believe that the Negroes and other dark people, 
whom we see in full health and vigour, and with every organic 
perfection, labour under a kind of habitual jaundice, he may 
think it worthwhile to inquire further into this assumed secre- 
tion and precipitation of carbone. It will then be necessary to 
explain how this jaundice is produced in the numerous dark 
races, which dwell in temperate chmates ; and why it does not 
occur in the white people who occupy hot countries. 

It cannot be supposed that men of undoubted talents and 
learning would take up these opinions without any foundation at 
all ; and accordingly we find that there is a slender mixture of 
truth in these statements.; but it is so enveloped in a thick cloud 

• Essay, pp. 8 — 10. 

+ De gen. hum, tar. nat. p. 124. X Hid. pp. 126 137. 


of error, and so concealed by misrepresentation and exaggera- 
tion, that we do not recognise it without difficulty. Tlie colour 
of Europeans nearly follows the geographical positions of coun- 
tries : this part of the world is occupied almost entirely by a 
white race, of which the individuals are fairer in cold latitudes, 
and more swarthy or sun-burnt in warm ones ; thus, the French 
may be darker than the English, the Spaniards than the French, 
and the Moors than the Spaniards. In the same way, where 
different parts of a country differ much in latitude and tempera- 
ture, the inhabitants may be browner in the south than in the 
north : thus the women of Granada are said to be more swarthy 
than those of Biscay, and the southern than the northern Chi- 
nese, &c. For a similar reason the same race may vary slightly 
in colour in different countries. The Jews, for example, are 
fairer in Britain and Germany, browner in France and Turkey, 
swarthy in Portugal and Spain, olive in Syria and Chaldea. An 
English sailor, who had been for some years in Nukahiwah, one 
of the Marquesas islands, had been so changed in colour, that he 
was scarcely to be distinguished from the natives.* 

These diversities are produced by the climate, as I have already 
explained. The effect goes off if the cause be removed : it ter- 
minates in the individual, and is never transmitted to the 
offspring, as I shall prove most incontrovertibly presently. 

Moreover the effect is confined to the parts of the body actu- 
ally exposed t-o the sun and air. Thos€, which remain covered, 
retain all their natural whiteness. Mr. Abel found this 
strikingly exemplified in his Chinese journey. " The dark 
copper colour of those who were naked, contrasted so strongly 
with the paleness of those who were clothed, that it was difficult 
to conceive such different hues could be the consequence of 
greater or less exposure to the same degree of solar and atmos- 
pheric influence : but all conjecture on this subject was set at 
rest by repeated illustrations of their effects. Several indivi- 
duals, who were naked only from their waist upwards, stripped 
themselves entirely for the purpose of going into the water, to 
obtain a nearer view of the embassy. When thus exposed, they 
appeared at a distance to have on a pair of light-coloured pan- 

On a superficial view, again, we obser\'e that temperate Europe 
is occupied by a white race, and that the blacks, of whom we 
see and hear most, dwell chiefly vinder the burning sims and on 
• Laugsdorff's I'ayages, %c. v. i. p. 90. + A''arrative of a Journey, SjC. p. 78. 


the parched sands of Africa and Asia ; the numerous whites who 
live in hot, and the greater number of dark-coloured people who 
are found in cold countries, are not taken into the account of 
these imperfect and partial comparisons. 

I proceed to show that climate does not cause the diversities 
of mankind ; and in this consideration, my remarks are chiefly 
directed to the colour of the skin, as that is the part in which 
its operation has been regarded, by all the defenders of its influ- 
ence as the most unequivocal ; the reasoning, however, will 
apply in general to the other points of chfference, as well as to 

The uniform colour of all parts of the body is a strong argu- 
ment against those who ascribe the blackness of the Negro to 
the same cause as that which produces tanning in white people, 
namely, the sun's rays. The glans penis, the cavity of the 
axilla, the inside of the thigh, are just as black as any other 
parts ; indeed, the organs of generation, which are always 
covered, are among the blackest parts of the body. Neither is 
the peculiar colour of the Negro confined to the skin ; a smaU 
circle of the conjunctiva, round the cornea, is blackish, and the 
rest of the membrane has a yellowish brown tinge. The fat has 
a deep yellow colour, like bees-wax, at least in many of them, 
which may be distinguished by a very superficial inspection, 
from that of an European. The representation that the brain 
of the Negro is darker coloured than that of the white races, is 
not correct. 

The development of the black colour in the indi\'idual does 
not accord with the notion of its being produced by external 
causes. " Negro children," says Dr. Winterbottom, " are 
nearly as fair as Europeans at birth, and do not acquire their 
colour until several days have elapsed. The eyes of new-born 
Negro children are also of a light colour, and preserve somewhat 
of a bluish tinge for several days after birth." * 

Camper had an opportunity of observing the change in a 
Negro child born at Amsterdam. It was at first reddish, nearly 
like European children ; " on the third day the organs of genera- 
tion, the folds of skin round the nails, and the areolae of the 
breasts were quite black : the blackness extended over the whole 
body on the fifth and sixth days, and the boy, who was born in 
a close chamber in the winter, and well wrapped up, according 
to the custom of the country, in swaddhng-clothes, acquired the 

• Account of the Native Africans, v. i. st. i. p. 189. 


native colour of his race over the whole body excepting the 
palms and soles, which are always paler, and almost white, in 
working Negroes."* 

On the other hand, a black state of the skin is sometimes 
partially produced in individuals of the white races. In the 
fairest women, towards the end of pregnancy, spots of a more or 
less deep black colour have been often observed ; they gradually 
disappear after parturition. " The dark colour of the skin," says 
White, " in some particular parts of the body, is not confined 
either to the torrid or frigid zones : for in England the nipple, 
the areola round the nipple, the pudenda, and the verge of the 
anus, are of a dark brown, and sometimes as black as in the 
Samoiede women. It is to be remarked that the colour of these 
parts grows darker in women at the full period of gestation. 
One morning I examined the breasts of twenty women in the 
lying-in hospital in Manchester, and found that nineteen of them 
had dark-coloured nipples ; some of them might be said to be 
black, and the areola round the nipple, from one inch to two 
inches and a half in diameter, was of the same colour." f Le 
Cat mentions a woman near Paris, in whom the abdomen became 
black at each pregnancy, and afterwards recovered its colour ; in 
another the same change occurred in the leg. J 

Camper dissected at Groningen a young woman who died in 
childbed ; her abdomen, and the areola round the nipples, were 
of a deep black. The face, arms, and legs were of a snowy 
whiteness. § 

The species of domestic fowls in the East Indies with black 
periosteum, affords a further proof that the operation of the 
sun's rays is not a necessary circumstance to the production of 
colour in animal bodies. 

If we take the trouble of examining the races in any particular 
division of the world, we shall quickly find that the opinion, 
which as